manuscript editing – 15%

For this project you will take on the roles of developmental editor and copyeditor for a book project, My Life: A Memoir about Life in America. You’ll be given the book’s first two chapters and provide initial copy editing as well as more in depth re-writing advice.

what you produce
Your task is to perform a paper edit of the manuscript using standard symbols (Ch. 4 in Rude/Eaton—also refer to the Editing Notations handout). Provide basic copyediting services, but also make substantial edits including rewriting, and (if needed) reorganization suggestions. You’ll also provide insight on where the work could benefit from more depth, as the manuscript is currently too short for the publisher’s tastes. Our publishing house has a name: MS not BS.

introductory memo
When your editing suggestions are sent back to the author, it will be necessary to put all changes into context while also providing your overall impression of the piece so far. For these reasons you will write an introductory memo that summarizes the suggestions you make and also explains what additional texts (such as your Author Queries) are enclosed. This text should also provide instruction for the author on how to proceed with the project. The memo should be at minimum two pages (600-700 words), double-spaced. The memo word count does not include the queries.

Discuss any major recommendations not otherwise mentioned in the queries or on the MS itself. If paragraphs need to be rearranged, a section needs to be expanded, or a paragraph needs to be rewritten, note them here. Be sure to explain what issues you see, as well as how you recommend they be resolved. Use your own discretion when deciding whether to make these corrections yourself, or asking the author to make them.

author queries
Copy edits can be made on the MS itself. However, major suggestions such as rewriting, reorganizing, and expanding must be included on a separate author query document. Be sure that queries on this document are numbered and align with markings (such as Q1, Q2, etc.) on the MS. You must include a minimum of five queries, but more will likely be necessary for an in-depth edit.

what you submit through email as an organized pdf
you’ll have to scan your handwritten comments and make sure they are readable.

  • Copy of the manuscript with hand-written editing marks.
    • This is where you are a copyeditor.
  • Introductory memo (minimum two pages, double-spaced, 600-700 words).
    • This is where you are a DE. Write about the larger changes you see needing to be made.
  • Author queries (minimum five queries).
    • Here you act as a copyeditor. Your queries can be included in the introductory memo but, again, are not part of the the memo word count. These queries should be more specific than the DE suggestions you make in the memo.

Your grade will depend on your accuracy in the copyedit (locating errors, making suggestions, and using appropriate markup). Your grade will depend on the writing in your memo and the way you articulate your suggestions. Your DE suggestions should be clear and have good support. Your memo will, additionally, be judged on other aspects of good writing (organization, purpose, tone, grammar, and mechanics).

Here is a copy of the entire manuscript for editing: My Life.