Structural editing considers the overall picture. It evaluates the manuscript as a whole entity to analyse how well its constituent parts contribute to the intended message or the narrative.
The structural editor will do a complete read-through of the manuscript and provide suggestions to help improve word choices, transitions, and fluency of writing, as well as help to eliminate wordiness, triteness, confusing statements, mixed metaphors, and vague generalisations.
Includes one review after changes have been made.
For fiction manuscripts, the main areas that a structural editor will concentrate on are:
- Plot: Is the plot logical and make sense? Can the reader believe the events in the context of the story world? Is the narrative easy to follow, or does it confuse the reader? Does it leave the reader satisfied or frustrated?
- Themes: Are the themes handled effectively? Are there so many that the book lacks focus? Do they complement the plot or distract the reader from it?
- Characterisation: Are your characters well developed and believable? Do they sometimes behave out of character?
- Setting and description: Have you too much or too little description? Is your action playing out against a blank screen? Are your characters simply static talking heads? Have you included anachronistic speech or descriptions of places or objects?
- Point of view: Are you using too many or too few POVs? Are you changing POV unintentionally?
- Voice: Is the voice consistent or is it sometimes confused? Is the voice authentic? Do the word choices of a character suit the character, or the time setting of the story?
- Pace: Does the plot move forward at an appropriate pace? Should the action happen sooner or should the tension build more slowly? Should you have a prologue or preface?
- Dialogue: Do your characters sound real when they speak? Is your dialogue stilted, or full of unnecessary chat? Do you use dialogue to explain things that characters know, that the reader doesn’t?
- Flow: Is the narrative interrupted by dead-ends and side plots? Are you trying to reveal too much of the back-story, so that you lose the main plot? Are there missing plot points that would give the narrative greater integrity?
In non-fiction manuscripts, the principles are the same, but the specific issues are slightly different:
- Thesis: Is your thesis clearly defined or is it cluttered with side issues?
- Exposition: Are your arguments clear and cogent? Are they well researched and properly supported? Do they have a clear relationship with your thesis?
- Content: Are all the necessary topics covered with sufficient detail? Are the chapters weighted correctly? Is there superfluous content?
- Organisation: Is the information organised logically? Are tables and illustrations used appropriately? How many levels of subheads do you need and how should they be arranged?
- Tone: Is the tone appropriate for the audience? Do you need to eliminate jargon?
- Pace: Are there passages that are cluttered by too much detail? Are all details relevant to the main thesis? Are there areas that need further exposition lest they be skipped over?
Manuscript must be presented in an electronic format – MS Word or MS Word compatible preferred.