The advantages of book editing and proofreading services for crime novels

"…my expectations were surpassed. I was happy with the sample edit, but the full edit went beyond that. I have worked through half the edited book and haven’t found an error; the wise comments on plot, character, etc. have really impressed me."

The advantages of book editing and proofreading services for crime novels

On the lasting appeal of crime fiction, P.D. James suggested that they offer readers something that other novels don’t—a sense of certainty in a changing world. While crime in real life is disturbing and often without resolution, in fiction, the “good guys” usually win and justice is upheld. It’s no surprise, therefore, that crime and detective fiction is so overwhelmingly popular – both on paper and on the screen. A cursory glance at most bestseller lists will yield at least a few crime novels, and crime novelists like James Patterson are among the most prolific in the industry (having published 95 novels since 1976). This means that publishing houses receive countless crime manuscripts on a regular basis, but only a few realistically make the cut. Indeed, crime novels that are considered true “classics” of the genre are few and far between, such as Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

Aspiring crime and detective novelists, therefore, have their work cut out for them. And one of the most important ways they can ensure that their manuscript stands out is by using professional editing or book proofreading services. Because, while many writers have an interesting concept, and there is certainly a market for good ideas in crime fiction, translating those ideas to writing can be much more challenging. Perhaps unsurprisingly given his output rate, James Patterson works with the help of a range of ghost writers, co-authors and editors. However, even the most esteemed writers require the collaboration of editors to fully realize their stories. Rewriting and working from feedback is one of the most important stages of the writing process—so much so that it has even been termed “creative rewriting” by professionals.

This is vital for any writer, but especially so for a genre like crime and detective fiction. One of the reasons for this is that the field is so oversaturated (you have only to flick on the TV to see the truth of this) and riddled with clichés, from the fedora-wearing detective to the murderous butler. A crime novel should be mysterious, but not so arcane that it loses the interest of the reader; the resolution should make complete sense to the audience, and each plot point introduced should be addressed and of significance to the overarching story. At the same time, however, while the conclusion should be foreshadowed, it should be fresh and unexpected. This balance can be hard to achieve, and book editing and proofreading services can collaborate with writers to this end.

Generally speaking, editing and book proofreading services will polish and refine your novel. Some of the changes made or proposed will be at the surface level, but nevertheless valuable; spelling, syntax, and grammar revisions, name change suggestions for people or places, and basic fact checking to catch potentially embarrassing inaccuracies. For this reason alone, they are worthwhile, especially for writers looking to make their manuscript the best it can be prior to submission to a publishing house.

However, book editing services go beyond this basic description. In fact, a good book editor is something of an all-rounder, with knowledge of proper English conventions, the structure of a well-written novel, and an eagle-eyed ability to spot any discrepancies in logic. They can assist with the implementation of major changes to the manuscript to radically improve the tone and effectiveness of the narrative. They will be able to advise a writer on the course and focus of the novel and make suggestions on what does and doesn’t fit or what is and isn’t essential to the telling of the story. Sometimes, this process can be intensive, but necessary. For example, they might suggest changing the perspective if appropriate. An editor might even make recommendations to move or cut certain scenes or characters altogether. This process is especially useful for crime and detective novels, in which maintaining tension and skillfully revealing fragments of critical information at key moments is paramount.

Book editing and proofreading services are an invaluable asset to crime writers and writers in general. An editor to a book is as a make-up artist to a model; their value lies in their ability to discern the strengths of their subject and to enhance and draw attention to these areas while still maintaining their subject’s essence. By bringing together aspects that a writer does not necessarily have—such as knowledge of publishing standards and the reader’s perspective—editors and proofreaders can greatly improve the impact of a writer’s work.