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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
...what I'd really like to find is someone who'll assess a lengthy synopsis instead of the 100k manuscript. Has anyone heard of anything like this? I pay around $900 for a developmental edit of my manuscript BEFORE I then rewrite it and pay another $900 to have it copyedited. I know how important the developmental edit is (my editor (who is now going to work full time for a publisher) has saved my ass hundreds of times in some very major ways plot-wise) but I don't see how some of these errors couldn't be caught by reading a 25-page synopsis. Anybody else know of a really good budget developmental editor or this synopsis thing I'm talking about?

Or should I just rely on Beta readers??
 

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I've heard good things about Jodi at Chiaroscuro House - http://www.chiaroscurohouse.com/edits/index.html

From her website she appears to do a kind of 'chapter' developmental edit service (have a look at the page I've linked), so perhaps if you contacted her with your idea of a synopsis rather than a chapter she might be open to working with you on that?

$900 seems a lot for copy editing on a 100k manuscript!
 

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Do you actually write 25 page synopses? That's amazing. Do you write them before or after you write your manuscript?

It's an interesting strategy, to have your synopsis edited rather than the whole ball of wax. In theory, I think it could work...but then it also means that if you deviate from your syno, as most writers do if they write it first, then you run into the issue of whether or not you need it edited again. And it's hard to diagnose all pacing issues from an overview.

I think most editors that charge by the word would give it a go. I often edit short lengths for people who want to enter into contests or send partials to agents etc.

Please let us know if your experiment works.
 

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This is actually an excellent idea, and I would consider hiring out for this too. My crit partners and I have tried this among each other, and we call it a concept critique. It is very helpful, and it does tend to highlight some of the more obvious plot holes and weaknesses before you spend much time writing something that has a big flaw in it.

I don't know of a pro editor who offers this as a service though. IMO, someone should!
 

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SusanKL said:
...what I'd really like to find is someone who'll assess a lengthy synopsis instead of the 100k manuscript. Has anyone heard of anything like this? I pay around $900 for a developmental edit of my manuscript BEFORE I then rewrite it and pay another $900 to have it copyedited. I know how important the developmental edit is (my editor (who is now going to work full time for a publisher) has saved my *ss hundreds of times in some very major ways plot-wise) but I don't see how some of these errors couldn't be caught by reading a 25-page synopsis. Anybody else know of a really good budget developmental editor or this synopsis thing I'm talking about?

Or should I just rely on Beta readers??
What you are asking is a bit like saying:

"I am going to cook a banquet. Here is a list of the items in my pantry, here are the specifications for my stove and oven. Here are some pictures of my saucepans and my mixer. These are the cookbooks that I own".

"What should I do with all this to make it successful"?

No editor can edit work that has not been created. You might get some advice as to whether your proposal is viable, but until you have written it, no one can edit it. A detailed synopsis might be useful for attracting interest from a publisher - if it stands out and if you can convince them that you are capable of producing the work. Not very likely nowadays but possible.
 

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I think it seems like a good idea for a developmental edit because you just want to see if your story works. You'll do a regular thorough line edit once complete.

Danielle Steel does this with her books. She writes a very long outline 25-50 pages and then her editor reviews, and they tweak it, and then she writes the book.
 

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DarkScribe said:
What you are asking is a bit like saying:

"I am going to cook a banquet. Here is a list of the items in my pantry, here are the specifications for my stove and oven. Here are some pictures of my saucepans and my mixer. These are the cookbooks that I own".

"What should I do with all this to make it successful"?

No editor can edit work that has not been created. You might get some advice as to whether your proposal is viable, but until you have written it, no one can edit it.
^This.

Someone can tell you "Strong concept" but having a strong concept won't determine if your final product is a good book. Give the synopsis to those you trust to give you honest feedback, listen to what they say, and save the money for the developmental editor until you actually need to hire one.
 

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You have the right idea with this plan. I'm not sure who you might find the service in the traditional trade (developmental editor most likely).
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I write a 30-50 page outline that I created after brainstorming the plot and arranging the elements (I use xmind.net, simple and free software). It is sooooo much easier to move around blocks of one line "this happens here" "that happens there" than it is to go in after the 100k novel is done and say "oops! I have to rip out 30k of text and clean up another 5k of impacted scenes elsewhere in the book and then write a new 30k to replace it all". I might even be geeked up on writing a particular story-line but then after messing with the outline for several days and finding something big didn't work with the concept -- I just saved a whole pile of nonsense writing if I had been out wandering at the whim of my characters telling where to go.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
DarkScribe said:
No editor can edit work that has not been created. You might get some advice as to whether your proposal is viable, but until you have written it, no one can edit it. A detailed synopsis might be useful for attracting interest from a publisher - if it stands out and if you can convince them that you are capable of producing the work. Not very likely nowadays but possible.
It's just that, it seems to me, most of the things my dev ed called me on could've been caught in a detailed overview. For example, telling me that I had two external antagonists and if I just had one antagonist, I could develop him more and make him even scarier, that could have been caught in a synopsis. As far as character development, I'd agree you need the full book to tell whether or not you'd accomplished that...but that is the sort of thing you can send out to an average reader with a list of questions: "Did you like Jenni?" "Did you think she gave in to soon to Bill?" "Did it make sense to you that she turned on Effie?" That kind of thing.

I appreciate y'all's help and I think I'm going to find the editor who'll give me an overall assessment of my plot and subplot by a synopsis--and then bunt to Betas for the things I just flat don't see in my own manuscript. Then there's always my copy editor and he tends to see more than just grammar and continuity errors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gwen Hayes said:
Do you actually write 25 page synopses? That's amazing. Do you write them before or after you write your manuscript?

It's an interesting strategy, to have your synopsis edited rather than the whole ball of wax. In theory, I think it could work...but then it also means that if you deviate from your syno, as most writers do if they write it first, then you run into the issue of whether or not you need it edited again. And it's hard to diagnose all pacing issues from an overview.
I write incredibly long outlines--which then get changed massively as I write the manuscript. My plan would be to jump back in after I'd written the book and rewrite the outline to create a synopsis that would then reflect the finished manuscript and send that to the editor. I use the Save the Cat beat sheet for pacing and am usually on the money for that. As an example, just today at breakfast, I was talking over the book to my long-suffering husband (who has not read the manuscript) and he mentioned that my heroine seems to have all the good moves in the book and the hero is kind of on the side lines. I hadn't noticed that! It made me realize that I needed to write a scene to show what a beast he is. THAT is the sort of thing that would've popped out in the synopsis to anyone who was trained to know what they were looking at.
 

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Do you have beta readers? I really think this might be something you want to send to them or someone you trust. I was going to offer to critique it but honestly, DarkScribe is right, I would really have no way to tell how things are going to work out. I mean in layout, it all kinda sounds like a good idea. Also, I really have no idea how I'd charge for something like that.

The other option is to get your developmental editor now and work something out with them on this. Personally, I'm willing to be flexible with what the client wants but I know others are less inclined to do this. Maybe just write people and see where you get from there. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I wonder how many people even use developmental editors? I've used mine for three books and loved what she did, but if there was a cheaper way to get close to  same input (Betas, synopsis assessment), I'd really like to explore it. I do have a set of Beta readers who are incredibly helpful (and fast.)

Thanks everyone for your help.  I'll definitely report back on my findings!
 

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DarkScribe said:
What you are asking is a bit like saying:

"I am going to cook a banquet. Here is a list of the items in my pantry, here are the specifications for my stove and oven. Here are some pictures of my saucepans and my mixer. These are the cookbooks that I own".

"What should I do with all this to make it successful"?

No editor can edit work that has not been created. You might get some advice as to whether your proposal is viable, but until you have written it, no one can edit it. A detailed synopsis might be useful for attracting interest from a publisher - if it stands out and if you can convince them that you are capable of producing the work. Not very likely nowadays but possible.
I know editors in NY who provide feedback on just the synopsis all the time. I know someone who had an editor who wouldn't even read the pages part of the proposal, and just look at the synopsis. My editor would always comment on my synopsis back when I was traditionally published.

It's really possible to do this, and what you want to look for is editors who say they'll provide feedback on a proposal, and ask them if they'll just look at a synopsis.
 

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Courtney Milan said:
I know editors in NY who provide feedback on just the synopsis all the time. I know someone who had an editor who wouldn't even read the pages part of the proposal, and just look at the synopsis. My editor would always comment on my synopsis back when I was traditionally published.

It's really possible to do this, and what you want to look for is editors who say they'll provide feedback on a proposal, and ask them if they'll just look at a synopsis.
I sold What Kings Ate on a four page proposal. There was work back and forth before I even penned a word on the actual document.
 
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