Monday Microscope: Role of an Editor

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My manuscript got rejected by a publishing house because they felt my language skills were bad. They said I needed a good editor. But isn’t that their job? Also, how can I work on this now. I have always written in simple English.” – Animesh

Dear Animesh,

Editors at a publishing house play a varied role in developing a manuscript.

  1. Rectifying grammatical errors
  2. Correcting any narrative gaps, like long winding sentences, restructuring of the sentences to bring out the meaning more sharply, using accurate words, usage of the right figures of speech etc.
  3. Check the flow of the narrative and the plot
  4. Correct the punctuation and spacing issues.
  5. Analyse its sale-ability
  6. Do a market analysis
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Out of this, it is highly possible for a writer to expect them to help with the required language skills where they feel that the plot has potential. However, unfortunately due to the high volume of submissions received at their end, it is difficult for them to invest so much time and energy in one manuscript to make it reach a standard where they can now consider its sales and market analysis.

Every genre requires a certain level of language skill. One could always write in simple English but what narrative style works for a college romance, might not work for a historical romance. And that is where the language skills play a huge role. The whole story can either fall flat or evolve in a better fashion basis the treatment of the plot which starts with good language.

It is here that we recommend you consider either hiring a freelancing editor, who in turn helps you sharpen your novel in terms of language and narrative flow, both. Alternatively you could also consider reading more books from the genre you prefer to write, trying to analyse their language skills and try to imbibe them into your writing. Ofcourse, you could also try doing some Creative Writing courses (Online or otherwise). They help you get a glimpse of what kind of writing various genres demand and how important a role does language have in a novel.

It is important to remember , great language skills are acquired over a period of time with lot f hard work, patience and ofcourse extensive reading.

What do you think is the best way to work on their language skills for any writer?

Do feel free to send us your questions either by email or you can leave a comment here for us to cover it in the next Monday Microscope.

This week’s Monday Microscope was answered by our in-house team expert, Namrata. Having worked as an editor for a publishing house, where manuscript assessment was her core KPI , she is now a freelancing beta reader for Team KC.

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