I specialize in editing fiction for middle grade, young adult and new adult audiences.
Editing is for the reader.
The most important concept to understand about editing is that it about your reader understanding the idea you are trying to convey.
When a writer can cross that line from taking edits personally to understanding that edits are about reader comprehension, the partnership between writer and editor becomes a productive and fun working relationship.
An editor looks at how the reader perceives your message. Is that the image you are wanting to convey and is it doing the job? If not, what’s the better way to get the message across? As your editor, I have suggestions.
There is a general idea out there in the writing world, or even general population, that writing for kids is easier than writing for adults. The opposite is actually true. Writing for a younger audience requires understanding a kid’s point of view. Not only understanding it, but being able to stand in it, be the child, feel the young person’s feelings and talk the young person’s language.
Creating convincing dialogue for different ages and stages takes study, observation and practice. Is your protagonist 11 years old, or 13? It’s only two years, but they will use noticeably different vocabulary. I can help you navigate these stages of dialogue.
Stories for kids are much cleaner than stories for adults. And I’m not talking about the x-rated kind of clean, I mean the writing is tighter, there are no wasted words, the stories move quickly, the language is active. This doesn’t mean the stories are not complicated, they certainly can be. You have about five pages to capture the attention of a young person and then once you’ve got it — you need to hold on to it. If you don’t, they’ll shelve your book and move on.
Clear, clean, concise writing, convincing dialogue, and telling a story without preaching a message are all necessary when writing for young audiences. All of my writing and editing experience has been with manuscripts for middle grade (MG) (8-12), young adult (YA) (13-18) and new adult (NA) (18-25) audiences.
|Middle Grade (MG)||Young Adult (YA)||New Adult
|An engaging, keep-your-reader-turning-the-pages plot and a strong, sympathetic age appropriate protagonist, and an equally compelling antagonist.|
|Word Count (in general)||20,000-55,000||35,000-85,000||35,000-85,000|
|Target Audience age||8 – 12 years||14 – 17 years||18 – 25 years|
|Age of main character||11 – 14 years||16 – 18 years||20 – 26 years|
|Slightly higher word counts are acceptable for fantasy and sci-fi stories where world building is necessary.|
Four levels of editing:
There are four levels of editing, and none should be skipped. Each is an important step in the process:
- Developmental editing: Big picture or macro edit to identify plot holes and character development.
- Substantive editing: A heavy line (or micro) edit that improves clarity, flow and readability. Sometimes cutting or moving passages is necessary to ensure a stronger scene. (I recommend and offer two rounds of substantive editing.)
- Copy editing: A light line edit done after the big edits are complete. Includes final polishing and fixing of minor mistakes.
- Proofreading: An essential final step before a manuscript proceeds to publication. Proofreading skills require the ability to “find the needle in the haystack” in the final hunt for typos. Proofreading services are best through a fresh set of eyes, I have a proofreader that I defer to for this edit.
I highly recommend reading these two books:
- Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson
- Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.
Apply the teachings to your writing.