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My Working Process

Initial inquiry

My working process begins with the initial inquiry. A potential client will have questions and I seek to answer them in full, as well as some of my own. I always like to know an author’s aims for their book, where they feel they are in the editing process, and of course, if they have a publishing date in mind.

With the niceties exchanged, and if the author is interested in what I have to offer, I provide a sample edit (usually within twenty-four hours).

Sample edit

I always ask for a chapter or two for the sample as this gives me an opportunity to get a feel for the author’s writing, although I only mark up four pages. It is impossible to do a developmental editing sample as I need to know to do that, but what my samples will show is what I look for and how I make comments and mark-up manuscripts.

Service agreement

Once the project price, work schedule, and scope have been discussed, the author will be invited to visit  https://michelledunbar.co.uk/service-agreement/ to confirm their agreement to our terms and conditions.

Payment schedule

Developmental editing is payable over four installments (25% of the total cost for each installment)
Critiques are payable over two installments (50% of the total cost for each installment)

Coaching is payable via monthly subscription or as a one-time cost, as defined by the package selected.

First read

My first task involves reading your manuscript straight through. This allows me to lose myself in your story and get a feel for your characters, world, setting, and writing style. During this stage of reading, I will note where I laugh, cry, where I am confused, bored, excited, etc. Although I make notes, I don’t do any analysis at this stage.

First edit

I consider the ‘bigger picture’ during my first edit. I make notes and chart the story and character arcs within Ywriter, which you can read more about here, as well as tracking the main plot, sub-plots, character relationships, and anything else of relevance. I make very few comments on the manuscript during this first edit but will provide you with an editorial report.

Editorial Report

My editorial reports are broken down into the following sections:

  • How to use this report
  • What I liked
  • What needs work
  • Story editing
  • Next steps

Return of manuscript

The manuscript will be returned on the day specified in the contract, after which the author is welcome to ask questions.

Second read

The second read will assess all the previous points raised and do a close read/edit. I write comments on the manuscript during this edit and will markup the text, where necessary.

Copy editing

Although I identify and reference potential copy editing concerns, I am not a copy editor and advise all authors to hire a copy editor.