Our Approach to Editing

We treat editing as a collaboration between us and the author, with the aim of taking a story full of potential and working together to make it wonderful and truly unique. Editing a manuscript goes beyond fixing grammatical errors and making sure everything makes sense. It’s not a chore, but a chance to question, consider, and experiment; to pull the story into new shapes and see what works best. Our editing is largely descriptive rather than prescriptive, meaning we aren’t going to tell you how you should write your story, but rather suggest alternative and more effective ways of doing so. It’s entirely up to you which suggestions you take on board, and which you disregard. This is your story, and we want you to feel comfortable with it.

“Editing is imperative to any writer, that’s why Black Opal Arts is an invaluable resource for any aspiring creative. Badly presented work is deemed unprofessional and will dilute your chances of being taken seriously in the creative world, so it’s vital you submit the finest copy that’s in you or you will be judged harshly for it.” 

– Lisa O’Donnell, author of The Death of Bees and Closed Doors

What you can expect us to consider in your work is, in a word, everything. Here at Black Opal Arts we believe in two things: firstly, that every word should earn its place. If it doesn’t hold up under interrogation, then it has to go. Secondly, rules are vital for the structure and smooth operation of language, but we know that really interesting things can happen when you break those rules. We’ll tell you where you need a comma, but we’ll also tell you where it might be more effective not to have one. We’ll scour your work line by line for errors, indicate paragraph breaks and make sure it all flows. We love words, so we’ll tell you the ones we’re particularly ecstatic you used, as well as suggesting descriptions we think would serve the story better. Polishing your dialogue, tightening passages and ensuring consistency in voice, tone and style is all part of the package. So is rigorously questioning the purpose of each scene, chapter, theme, character and subplot, as well as the placement and pacing of these.

As well as our more technical suggestions for improving your writing, you’ll get our thoughts as avid and meticulous readers too. Consider us the readers whose complaints and niggles you can take into consideration before releasing your book into the unpredictable wilderness.

If our input sounds like something your novel could use, head over to our contact page for information on how to submit a job to us. Still not convinced? Go here to read our FAQ on whether you need an editor.

Thank you for visiting, and happy writing!