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Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) 0th Edition
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As defined by Scott Norton, developmental editing is distinct from copyediting and substantive editing. The copyeditor deals with the nuts and bolts of clarity, cohesion, consistency, and correctness (the "4 Cs" according to Amy Einsohn's The Copyeditor's Handbook), while the substantive editor has license to revise at the word, sentence, and paragraph levels.
The developmental editor (DE) operates at the nexus of art, craft, and the market realities of today's hyper-competitive publishing industry. The DE simultaneously serves three constituencies: as first advocate for the reader; as protector of message and voice for the author; as field operative for the publisher, enhancing its reputation while maximizing the book's market prospects. Ideally the DE is brought on board very early on. More often, the DE will be tasked with improving or even rescuing an existing manuscript by applying Scott's developmental blueprint, which also forms the structure of his book: Assuming the author has provided a manuscript with "good bones," the DE first discovers and draws out the most compelling concept. That concept is then narrowed to a sharp thesis, and supporting content is restructured into a rhythmic balance of engaging narrative in service to a cogent argument.Read more ›
Owner, Adirondack Editing
Scott Norton defines developmental editing as "a significant structuring or restructuring of a manuscript's discourse" and observes that unlike copyediting it cannot be "demonstrated with brief examples. So I've adopted the strategy of creating extended narrative examples. Although fictitious and intentionally exaggerated, these 'case studies' reflect the range of authors, clients, and developmental assignments."
The artfully constructed case studies Norton presents engage the reader throughout the book -- from the first chapter, "Concept: Shaping the Proposal" to the final chapter, "Display: Dressing Up the Text." Two examples of his creative case-study approach follow.
"Thesis: Finding the Hook" (pp. 48-67) begins with the developmental editor (DE) taking a first look at the book proposal and noting that the two coauthors, an anthropologist and a sociologist, both second generation Mexican Americans "had too much to say on their subject, and many of their theses contradicted each other" (p. 51).Read more ›
You will learn to: choose the main concept of the book according to the author's vision and the needs of his market; rework the TOC accordingly; navigate the intricacies of collaboration between author, DE and publisher; extract the main thesis out of the main concept; tell the difference between theses and topics; create a working title that will reflect the main thesis; locate all narrative threads (yes, even nonfiction does have narrative threads) and comb them into an organized whole - choosing which are main, which subordinate, and how will they be ordered in the text; choose from different kinds of argument, and learn how to find and structure the main line of argument; write a developmental plan and all other needed documents; create a balanced rhythm by editing for pace; design opening and closing transitions according to the main thesis of each chapter; organize the conclusions, from smaller ones to more fundamental ones, and decide on their placement; improve stylistic elements like voice, tone, and diction, as well as all aspects of visual book design.
I am so happy I read this book! It feels as if I've taken a class in DE. Bravo Scott!
Note to the author if he is reading this: sorry to see the Kindle version currently discontinued - hoping that this is because it is being improved. It had minor troubles in the formatting of the Tables - but I have faith that these will be fixed, esp. now, when automatic book updating is possible.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't let my 3 sway you. It's a good book but more so for fiction or creative writing, not for academic or educational manuscripts.Published 2 months ago by Maria M. Baptiste
A book I use and refer over and over again on a subject of crucial importance to any writer or editor.Published 3 months ago by Jack B. Rochester
I actually enjoyed this handbook more than most fiction books I've read--it's like a utopian novel for editors. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Evelyn
There are very few books on writing and editing non-fiction, and as an author of non-fiction books, I am always looking for books that give tailored advice for that genre. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Geetanjali Mukherjee
Brilliant! Writers who really want to know how to recognize a fantastic editor will gain from reading this--along with a good number of tips for how to improve their work.Published 10 months ago by Heather Elizabeth Erwin
This book really helped me as an editor to improve my skills. The advice and instructions are easy to understand and have made a big difference to my clients. Read morePublished 12 months ago by LadyDestinyRose
I thoroughly enjoyed this! I've been struggling in the developmental editing process, but this novel set me straight. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Cleanedit
I bought this for my college textbook development and production editors. They all needed a refresher course on how to deal with various freelancers, authors, and other... Read morePublished 16 months ago by GingerH
I'm a writer of academic non-fiction, not an editor, but I got an enormous amount from this charming book. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer