Friday, March 30, 2012

Write Club -- Which Reviewer Are You?

Hey y'all.  So I was reading this book, "How to Succeed in the Publishing Game" by Vickie Stringer. She was talking about all the different aspects of editing. Apparently in the business there are three types of editors. Copy editors, content editors, and book doctors.

Copy editors are people who correct grammar and punctuation. The example given is this:

Before: See spot run
After: See Spot run.

Pretty self-explanatory. 

The content editor cares about things like consistent storylines, character development, and avoiding plot holes. They want your language to be as entertaining as possible. 

Before: See Spot run.

According to the book, "A content editor might ask: what color are Spot's spots? Where is Spot running? Is Spot a he or a she?"

"See Spot, the purebred champion Dalmatian male, with his stunning black spots perfectly off-set by his brilliantly white coat, sprinting down the avenue after the dazzlingly red fire truck."

The book doctor is concerned with the big picture of the story in question. They investigate to see if your character is unappealing, your ending doesn't work, or your themes are off. They're the big picture people, and Vickie calls them, "a best friend who will tell you if the outfit you are wearing makes you look fat...but also gives you solid, concrete options on what to change and what to wear that will look most flattering and make you irresistible to your audience".

Before: See Spot run.

A book doctor's possible comments: "Having Spot run here does not make sense. Instead of running, Spot should be having an affair with the neighbor dog who already has illegitimate puppies with Spot's dying half-brother."

I don't think I like that book example...but oh well. You get the idea. In any case, I've been noticing lately on the writing forums I go to that people don't always review the books equally. One person will comment on one thing, and someone on another. It's obvious that these divisions exist in our reviewing even though the people around you aren't always editors.

So which one are you? The spelling/grammar type? The content fixer type? Or do you see the big picture? I think I fall more into the book doctor section myself, but I've been doing a bit of content editing too. What about y'all?

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