Does Your Writing Need an Editor?

That’s me, dressed up for an event

It probably does.

An editor finds the errors in your manuscript that you’ve overlooked—which happens if you’ve been staring at your words until your vision’s blurred, and your forehead hits the table in front of you.

Or, maybe you didn’t overlook those errors. Maybe you made mistakes you didn’t recognize as mistakes.

Say you think periods and commas go outside the quotation marks in your dialog.

Or you don’t know when you’ve got a phrase wrong. (You’d be surprised how many writers think the phrase “wreck havoc” is correct. It isn’t.) Maybe you’ve never understood the distinction between disinterested and uninterested.

It’s the editor’s job to point out the overuse—and misuse—of words and phrases like “hopefully” and “begs the question.” (Just about everybody gets those two wrong.)

Perhaps you treat the same word(s) differently in different places in your work. Is it “copy editor” or “copyeditor?”

At some point in your story, you might have put two periods at the end of a sentence. Or, throughout your book, you’ve inserted two spaces at the end of sentences.

There might be a word you always misspell. For me, that word is “narcissism.” I had to try three spellings just now before I got the right one.

If you’re like me, when you type fast, you write “ot,” instead of “to,” and “of,” instead of “or.” That’s why I always give work I intend to publish to a copy editor before I submit it. (Blog posts are a different matter. I can’t afford to have dozens of them edited, so please ignore any errors you find here.)

Is it possible something you’ve written on page 138 of your manuscript already appears on page 101? Are you telling the same story over and over again, drumming its details into your readers’ heads? In short, is it repetitious?

Get your work edited so you won’t be embarrassed when you submit your query letter or manuscript to an agent, or upload your book to sell online. Crisp, engaging, correct copy allows your readers to lose themselves your writing. Isn’t that better than having them sigh, before casting it aside?

Please contact me ( if you need an editor. Sceptical? Click on the Testimonials tab above to see what my clients, students, and colleagues say about my work.

3 thoughts on “Does Your Writing Need an Editor?

  1. Having a copy editor is a great idea, but can also be an expensive venture for those of us without the magic touch of publication somewhere. I have had several friends edit my work and feel confident it is polished for submission.

  2. Hi Lynette,
    I always thought that I may be one of the very few people who type too fast and get the letters reversed, put two spaces after a period (because of my training for writing scientific papers) and some other things that you have mentioned. I try to do my own “editing” but many times I just can’t spot the errors. I feel good to know that other writers may need a copy editor also.
    I like your new picture.

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