Lars Peterson Editorial Services

It's not about what's included; it's about what's left out.

Fixing Words

An editor is a fixer — of broken spelling and grammar, of busted logic and organization, of faulty workflows and processes, of stressed writing and editorial teams, of misaligned vision and execution. From narrow to broad, here’s a roundup of the key editorial skills I bring to a project.

  • Proofreading and copyediting fix problems with spelling or grammar or style in a fine grained way late in the process. Fact checking can happen here, too, depending on the workflow. This is what many people think of when they think of an editor’s job.
  • Line editing fixes problems with voice, language, structure, sourcing, and organization after the writer delivers a manuscript (and later, if revisions are ongoing). Edits at this level can be substantial — entire paragraphs cut or recast — but a line editor does not focus on the nitty gritty details of the copyedit.
  • Developmental editing fixes problems with the conception of the project, its organization, its development, sometimes before anything has been written. A developmental editor is a reader, a coach, and a colleague a writer can rely on while a project is underway.

There are other ways I’ve solved problems with words, often behind the scenes.

  • A production editor wears many editorial hats — proofreading and copyediting, monitoring production schedules, communicating with authors and designers, approving manuscripts for the printer or the website. Many of these tasks come late in the process, but a good editor will have an eye toward what’s coming next. A production editor is the ink-stained wretch who keeps the operation running, no matter what.
  • A managing editor is involved at every step of the process making sure the operation runs smoothly. Are manuscripts progressing to completion? Are writers and editors staying busy and developing their talents? Is editorial direction and philosophy being followed? Are budgets adhered to? Is the audience paying attention? Are we making money?

After twenty years of this work, I’ve fixed a lot of word problems — and I’m eager to fix more. Tell me about your problem, and let’s figure out how to fix it.

(And if you need something written — I do that, too.)