Wemmick Editng

Holistic Manuscript Editing


Let’s mince words. Let’s semantically quibble. Why “holistic editor”? Why not developmental editor, substantive editor, or another more recognizable moniker? Well, holistic editing acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between all aspects of your manuscript: structure, plot, voicing, point-of-view, diction, context among existing works, the need for “exformation,” and your goal of generating a written idiolect (read: a set of genuinely original, individualized speech habits particular to an author, character, or narrator). Traditional developmental editing, line editing, and/or proofreading services often compartmentalize two or three aspects of your manuscript, creating a literary “hierarchy of needs” in which grammatical flawlessness trumps rounded character development, or a well-plotted book is achieved at the expense of what Bruno Schulz suggests is the pinnacle of literary commiseration: “Under the imaginary table that separates me from my readers, don’t we secretly clasp each other’s hands?”

If figuratively clasping hands with your readers isn’t your thing, so be it; this doesn’t change the fact that editorial thoroughness (a degree of healthy obsessiveness) should extend beyond a cursory evaluation of your book’s “arc” or a clinical appraisal of your sentence structure variation. “Editorial feedback” should never resemble a visit from a well-intended country doctor who compliments a patient’s impeccable left kneecap (“Exquisite cartilage!”) while said patient endures crippling migraines and room-clearing flatulence. Your book shouldn’t suffer from avoidable maladies; nor should your hard work and artistic vision be met with anything other than an honest, thorough, and comprehensive evaluation of your writing. Addressing glaring, macroscopic concerns (pacing, structure, unintended doppelgangers named Merv, etc.) is one part of the process to hone and enliven a manuscript, but it is no more important than addressing the stylistic and voice-related dimensions of your writing, which often require more delicate and attentive reworking.

As part of my editorial ethos, I never conclude a project that is, for example, charmingly lyrical but communicatively aimless. The opposite is true (hollow page-turners be damned). I won’t lie about consistency of quality if your manuscript’s first chapter is delightful and the fifth is comparatively lacking. When we collaborate, I make sure we’re on the same page (sorry) about what will make your manuscript more realized, vivacious, and representative of your original creative vision: a book you can share with a sense of personal and artistic accomplishment, knowing you pushed yourself and your craft to the fullest extent.

To arrange a meeting regarding your project, please contact me at [email protected]. In your email, please tell me a little bit about yourself, your writing background, and your proposed (or in-progress) project. If you have previously published work to share, all the better; please feel free to send a link or attachment for me to review.

“Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige’s wall there was this one: ‘Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.’ Master lttei commented, ‘Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.”

Yamomoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure