Stylistic editing for memoir
You've completed the second or sixth draft of your memoir. You've tinkered with your own words for so long that you can no longer tell what reads well and what doesn't. You need an outside reader — but not just any reader. Someone attuned to story elements, the language, your voice, and the reader's experience.
As I read your manuscript, I'm constantly asking questions:
Stylistic editing, also called line editing, improves the flow, clarifies meaning, and smooths the language in harmony with your voice.
I edit with both a logical mind and a poetic mind. I am attuned to the meaning and the music of language — both the message and the rhythm of words and sentences. The edited manuscript will sound like the best and truest version of you.
Stylistic editing for your nonfiction book
You have written a nonfiction book on a subject you care about. You are reasonably satisfied with the structure, but you want to ensure that your argument is persuasive, your paragraphs cohesive, your sentences well constructed, and your words well chosen. A stylistic edit ensures that your book will be not only educational but enjoyable for readers.
Is stylistic editing the right choice for me?
- An editorial letter (~ 5 pages) addressing any remaining "big picture" issues and explaining elements of the writing craft — the why behind my recommendations.
- Comments and queries in the margins. The comments flag specific passages that need attention, ask questions about clarity, explain the edits as needed, and make suggestions for larger-scale revision.
- Edits in tracked changes. Line or stylistic editing involves things like tightening the prose, improving word choices, smoothing transitions, varying sentence structure for sound and meaning, adjusting the paragraphing, and resolving ambiguities.
I can only afford one editing service. Can I combine stylistic editing with structural editing or copy editing?
Yes, if . . .
If the structure is in good shape, it's possible to combine structural and stylistic editing. This combination is often called substantive editing. You'll receive an editorial letter plus track changes and comments in the manuscript. In my suite of services, substantive editing is similar to a Structural Edit + Comments in the Margins. The only difference is that substantive editing includes track changes in the manuscript.
The risk with substantive editing is that when you revise the manuscript for structure, the line edits might no longer be relevant. For instance, you could end up deleting scenes or sections that have been line edited.
If you can't afford an in-depth structural edit, I highly recommend a budget-friendly manuscript assessment.
If the writing is good, then we can combine stylistic and copy editing.
The cost varies depending on the length of your manuscript and the shape it's in. Please get in touch so that I can provide you with an accurate estimate.
Writing a memoir is an emotional journey that is both personal and daunting. I was fortunate to work with Ellie on mine. I was dealing with someone who not only did a wonderful job on the structural and stylistic editing, but also understood my feelings and thoughts. She sensed what I wanted to convey. Her insights and new perspectives shifted the story beyond what I was doing on my own, helped me find my voice and made me a better writer.
—Gordon Miller, author and artist
Ellie Barton copy edited International Migration and the Governance of Religious Diversity, a book co-edited by Matthias Koenig (of Gottingen University in Germany) and myself. I have worked with a number of copy editors, and I found Ellie’s editing instincts and rigour to be exceptional. Not only was she able to correct and standardize the writing styles of the volume’s authors, but she was also able to bring to our attention a large number of passages that were either far too abstract or simply did not make logical sense. She not only alerted us to these problems but also proposed solutions – often rewriting paragraphs such that the author’s point became far more lucid and compelling (and one should bear in mind that the authors we selected are international leaders in their fields). In this sense she went way above and beyond the call of a copy editor, and in so doing, significantly enriched the final product.
—Paul Bramadat, director, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria