Editors' Analysis

Is Your Story the Best It Can Be?


Inkwater Press Opens Editors’ Full-Manuscript Analysis Service.

Inkwater Press has been publishing fine fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books since 2007. With the careful eye of their resilient editors, award-winning books like Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History and Coping with Ash have been shelved in stores and libraries all across the world. Now, Inkwater editors are opening a new full-manuscript editors’ analysis service. Going beyond their usual focus on pre-publication copy- and line-editing, they’ve decided that it is time to help authors at all stages of the writing process. Have you just completed your first draft? Your third? Is there something about your story that doesn’t seem quite right? Inkwater’s professionals are here to help.


Holly Tri

Holly Tri

Editor

Holly Tri holds a BAS in Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her editing experience spans various genres, from poetry and fiction to memoir and children’s books, as well as promotional and educational materials. She is a published fiction writer with a passion for ancient and medieval history. Holly has edited over 100 books and boasts nearly a decade of experience. She’s polished the award-winning Journey and best seller From Chicago to Vietnam.

Which aspects of a manuscript resonate best with you? Do you have a preferred genre or subject matter?

I enjoy all the topics I get to learn about when editing both fiction and non-, from 1950s hotrods to historical events, from facts about CCR to the history of kayaks. And so much more. I don’t really have a favorite genre. I like a little bit of this and a little bit of that.


What do you believe to be the most common issue with a new writer’s manuscript?

With regards to developmental editing, I’d say consistency. Everything from timelines to names to spellings to facts to characterization to how numbers are written. Read and reread the manuscript. Map out the timeline (e.g., if it takes ten days to hike a trail, a character can’t start on Tuesday and finish on Sunday—that’s only six days). Consider every character’s story (e.g., your protagonist can’t be born in 1912 and die in 1980 at 85 years old, and if she’s an auto mechanic, she’s going to know how a car works throughout the entire book and probably not mind getting dirty). Check spellings of names, events, and places throughout. Choose a date style and stick with it throughout. From beginning to end, the story, fact or fiction, should make sense. Authors have a definite advantage over their editors: they’re the experts of their stories.


Andrew Durkin

Andrew Durkin

Editor

Andrew Durkin is a composer and writer from Portland, Oregon. Not only does he hold a PhD in English from USC, he is the author of Decomposition: A Music Manifesto which was published by Pantheon. Los Angeles Magazine included Decomposition in its list of the “Best Little Music Books of 2014.” With over 50 Inkwater books under his editing belt, Andrew Durkin is especially proud to have polished the award-winning titles Coping with Ash (Michael Scott Curnes) and The Monk Woman’s Daughter (Susan Storer Clark).


Which aspects of a manuscript resonate best with you? Do you have a preferred genre or subject matter?

As a reader: with fiction, I’m partial to fantasy, science fiction, and horror, especially middle-grade and YA. I like a lot of action and compelling characters with unusual stories. With nonfiction, I like anything thought-provoking, in subjects ranging from philosophy to aesthetics to politics. I’m a sucker for a beautifully made argument. I also like so-called “creative nonfiction.” As an editor, I try to overlook my personal biases and generally enjoy any manuscript involving an author who takes the editorial process seriously and who understands that getting the book right will require some work.


What do you believe to be the most common issue with a new writer’s manuscript?

The biggest challenge, regardless of genre, seems to be helping authors get out of their own heads so they can see their manuscript ‘fresh,’ as a reader might. I have found that most writing problems are a function of authorial blindness. Many times I will receive a manuscript in which the author still seems to be in the process of telling him- or herself the story. Things the author thinks are obvious are not; things he or she thinks need to be explained are already clear. The good news is that even the best authors have to overcome this problem! Beyond that, it’s a matter of cohesiveness. Writing a book is an enormous undertaking—and once you can start to see your draft from the outside, it’s a matter of the seemingly endless task of connecting all the right dots.


Editors’ Analysis

Cost: $500 (up to 60,000 words); $100 for each additional 15,000 words

The following is what your editors’ analysis will contain when returned to you:

  • Title Evaluation – Is the title going to grab the attention of the potential reader? Is the title appropriate for the book or manuscript?
  • Structure Evaluation – Is the book structured in a way that allows for the narrative to be the best it can be?
  • Chapters – Is the book divided into logical and appropriate sections?
  • Length of the work – Is the length of the work appropriate for the intended target market?
  • Character Development ( if appropriate) – Is the character development adequate for the story?
  • Dialogue (if included) – Is the dialogue easy to follow? Is it punctuated for ease in reading? Is it realistic?
  • Conclusion– Final analysis, suggestions, and recommendations


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