Most aspiring novelists would hire fiction editors before they would submit their manuscript to various publishing houses. Editing a novel is a difficult task, so when you are in this type of editing job, it could be a profitable business.
However, before you venture into editing fiction works, you should have enough background first. Research on the latest trends and if possible, read a lot of good novels and observe how the writer lures you to read on.
Editing novel is not similar to editing other forms of write-ups. Furthermore, editing fiction is different from reading it. Once you have started editing a manuscript, you should have a great eye for details. Editing is an important part of fiction writing, and it should not be overlooked by serious writers.
It is always better to edit the hard copy of the manuscript since the clean appearance in a word processor would give you the assumption that everything is perfect. However, ask your client to provide you with the electronic copy to facilitate better editing later.
Editing is good if you have fresh eyes for the manuscript. Thus, writers would pay for a professional or a freelance editor to comment on the plot and the entirety of the fiction.
To start, you should read first the manuscript as a whole, without editing it. Don’t indulge yourself to criticism if you have stumbled on an error. Just enjoy the manuscript as an average person would enjoy the novel. However, you can make mental write-ups and images of any pot holes you have stumbled upon and sound awkward. You should observe the bigger picture of the story before getting into details.
After getting the general sense of the fiction, edit the manuscript with the simple stuff. You have probably observed when you have read the manuscript some errors in spelling, grammar and run-on sentences. Your first revision should be copyediting, to clean up all errors such as typos and misspellings. Also, begin thinking about the rhythm of the sentences and paragraph. Have you noticed that you can use the same form of sentence constructions using punctuations to achieve special effects? Make a note of your observations, to help your client during the final revision.
While, it is your job to edit the manuscript, you should not write any additional plots. Instead, make suggestions. Your client knows the story well. Just point-out those awkward parts of the story that you think can pull down the good story and suggest revising of certain details such as names and scenes.
Make a plan for the bigger synopsis of the fiction. After you edit the manuscript, are there any scenes your client needs to consider? Maybe a few afterthoughts or a flashback is needed for one of the chapters, or the conclusion happens immediately. Plot where the story should go before you submit the manuscript to your client.
Be honest with giving your client your feedback. Once you have edited the manuscript professionally, he will be grateful. If the book would hit the bestseller lists, it would add to your reputation as a good fiction editor. As such, good editing comes with honest feedback. If you think a scene is boring, tell your client, and explain why you think so. After all, you are being paid to give feedbacks. It is also a great networking environment for your editorial services.