Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers

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"Editing is a tricky business. It requires analytical flair and creative panache, the patience of a saint and the vision of a writer. Transforming a manuscript into a book that edifies, inspires, and sells? That's the job of the developmental editor, whose desk is the first stop for many manuscripts on the road to bookdom - a route ably mapped out in the pages of Developmental Editing." "Author Scott Norton has worked with a diverse range of authors, editors, and publishers, and his handbook provides an approach to developmental editing that is logical, collaborative, humorous, and realistic. He starts with the core tasks of shaping the proposal, finding the hook, and building the narrative or argument, and then turns to the hard work of executing the plan and establishing a style." "Developmental Editing includes detailed case studies featuring a variety of nonfiction books - election-year polemic, popular science, memoir, travel guide - and authors ranging from first-timer to veteran, journalist to scholar. Handy sidebars offer advice on how to become a developmental editor, create effective illustration programs, and adapt sophisticated fiction techniques (such as point of view, suspense, plotting, character, and setting) to nonfiction writing." Norton's book also provides freelance copyeditors with a way to earn higher fees while introducing more creativity into their work lives. It gives acquisitions, marketing, and production staff a vocabulary for diagnosing a manuscript's flaws and techniques for transforming it into a bestseller. And perhaps most important, Developmental Editing equips authors with the concrete tools they need to reach their audiences.
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Editorial Reviews

I’ve done a fair amount of developmental editing, yet Norton has managed to fill his book with things I didn’t know—or had forgotten or stopped being very disciplined about. Editors of every stripe—DEs, line editors, copyeditors—can learn much from this fresh, readable, and practical book.

— Wendalyn Nichols

Beth Luey

“In Developmental Editing, Scott Norton discloses the analysis and techniques that underlie the seemingly magical act of turning an idea—or a flawed manuscript—into a good book. Norton gives aspiring editors the tools they need to do this demanding job. He gives authors the understanding they need to take advantage of an editor's advice. Finally, he gives authors without the good fortune to work with a developmental editor a way to look at their own work with a critical eye.”

Susan Wallace Boehmer

“Scott Norton is no seat-of-the-pants developmental editor. He’s a man with a method—practical, detailed, lucid, engaging. Even the most battle-tested editors and agents will rethink their tactics after reading this field guide to manuscript development.”

Michael Morgan

“Scott Norton’s book should be required reading for publishers who want to understand developmental editing and how it can improve their books.”

Copyediting - Wendalyn Nichols

“I’ve done a fair amount of developmental editing, yet Norton has managed to fill his book with things I didn’t know—or had forgotten or stopped being very disciplined about. Editors of every stripe—DEs, line editors, copyeditors—can learn much from this fresh, readable, and practical book.”

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Scott Norton is director of editing, design, and production at the University of California Press.

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Table of Contents

1 Concept : shaping the proposal 9

2 Content : assessing potential 27

3 Thesis : finding the hook 48

4 Narrative : tailoring the timeline 68

5 Exposition : deploying the argument 91

6 Plan : drafting a blueprint 112

7 Rhythm : setting the pace 123

8 Transitions : filling in the blanks 142

9 Style : training the voice 158

10 Display : dressing up the text 187

Afterword 221

Further reading 223

Acknowledgments 229

Index 231

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    University of California Press in Berkeley guides developmental

    University of California Press in Berkeley guides developmental editing in this book, for authors and publishers. This book denotes significant structuring or restructuring of a manuscripts discourse. It helps the author form a vision for the book and coaches chapter by chapter to ensure the vision is successfully executed. With use of line editing, chapter, section, paragraph and sentence levels, suggested rewrites are given. Authors should find practical advice to improve their writing skills; and maximize the appeal of their own manuscripts to prospective publishers. Concept focusing the authors vision, thesis and creating a winning title that reflects the winning choice is covered. Narrative to form a coherent story structure to choose between telling a story and making an argument is discussed. Detail to name a few topics includes, brainstorming to fine-tune a timeline to a revised table of contents is included. In exposition they fine-tune the main argument. A blueprint is created that will serve as a touchstone for the author and publisher throughout the editing process. It provides interventions when schedule or budget does not allow for a full developmental edit. Chapter equality with editing for pace with restructuring and transitions are used. How moving a conclusion from one place to another can lead to entirely different effects. With structure in place, ways of prose is used to help authors achieve their unique voice in prose. Opportunities to illustrate concepts and to express data visually, and extra touches to add luster, web pages are discussed. The sequences of stages may occur simultaneously or frequently and others may be inapplicable to specific projects. Techniques presented can be adapted to personal styles and advice discarded if it does not resonate. There is no one way to perform a developmental edit but first learn to master the rules. The tools given in this book are clear and in sequence with much more valuable instruction to read. I highly recommend this book. I own a copy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 31, 2013

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