The most important thing you need to know is that, as the writer, you have the final say about any suggestions the editor makes. No reputable editor wants to change your voice or rewrite your story. My goal is to make your story readable and enjoyable. I don’t make wording changes unless they’re necessary for clarity or grammar. Sometimes I’ll suggest a wording change in a comment bubble.
This process applies to all levels of editing after developmental. I prefer to use Microsoft Word because Track Changes is more comprehensive than what’s available in other word processing programs.
Step 1: Write your story. Self-edit it. Make it the best you can on your own.
Step 2: I edit using Track Changes. I’ll be cleaning up the grammar and making sure your meaning is clear. I’ll put questions and suggestions in comment bubbles.
This is what the document looks like when I’m finished with it. I’ve blurred the words here to protect the author, but you can see there’s a lot of red. Don’t let that intimidate you.
Step 3: You review the edits. I will lock the document in Track Changes so you won’t be able to accept or reject anything, but if you don’t agree with it just make a note. This also gives you a chance to answer questions. I lock it so that I can see what you’ve added or deleted and make sure that it still works in the overall structure.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary. Each time I read through the manuscript (each editing pass), the focus will narrow from big picture problems, through sentence and paragraph structure, to punctuation and grammar.
Step 5: I do a final pass of the manuscript to make sure I’ve caught as many misplaced commas as I can. I then clean up the document and send the final version back to you. If I’ve done my job correctly, at this point you’re happy with your story and ready for the next step in your publishing journey.