Structural editing involves moving the text around to get the structure right: scenes, chapters, plot points, character relationships, themes, back-story, setup, main conflict, climax, resolution, plot holes and mix of setting, dialogue and narrative.
Obvious punctuation, spelling and formatting errors can be corrected, but the finer details are covered in later drafts.
This is usually where most writers need professional help and is where many give up. What few people know is that emerging authors usually have help from a mentor, agent or other person with authority in the field. Publishing houses usually assign contracted authors a specific editor, or various editors, who works very closely with them through this stage. The more prolific and popular the author, the more editors they’ll have behind them—not that they’ll ever tell you. Lucky aren’t they?
Some editors call this structural or substantive editing and charge a lot for it; we call it Structural Editing, but charge our same great rate.
By the end of this stage, your manuscript will be a good read, something to be proud of. The story will flow in a logical and entertaining fashion. The plot points will be in the right place. The voice will be engaging and reasonably consistent. There’ll be just the right amount of characters and they’ll be believable and compelling and be doing what you want them to. You’ve put a lot of hard work into your manuscript and should pat yourself on the back for hanging in there.
If you hope to sell your novel to a publishing house, which we recommend you try at least a few times—they might offer you an advance—we can help write your chapter summaries, pitch and synopsis. This will give you a well-deserved break from editing and keep you focused on finishing the novel.
If you choose to work on your manuscript alone, or with someone other than a professional editor, you might find it gets rejected by agents and publishers without much explanation.
Please keep in mind that hiring an editor doesn’t guarantee your manuscript will be accepted by the first publisher you approach, especially if you submit it to a bigger one, but it will definitely help. Any literary agent willing to reject a well-structured manuscript with minimal errors and not provide a reason is not worth your time.
For details on our rates please contact us.