Are You Ready for Editing?

for Nonfiction:

You must know 3 things before nonfiction can be edited:

  1. what you’ve written
  2. whom you’ve written it for
  3. your intended point of view

These things will affect the style and tone of the piece—as well as if it’s intended to instruct or to entice a person to action.

for Fiction:

You must know 3 things before fiction can be edited:

  1. your intended audience
  2. your intended genre
  3. your intended point of view

hese things will affect will affect the style, word choice, and even the appropriate grammar your work.

Describe the ideal reader for your work.

This is the stereotype of who will love and really “click” with what you’ve written.

Genre Questions to Ask Yourself
Nonfiction
  • Are you writing for beginners? Experts? Hobbyists? Specialists? Generalists?
  • Why is what you’ve written ideal for them?
  • What will they do with it?
Fiction
  • Does your audience love specific by-the-book genres, or do they prefer genre mash-ups?
  • Do they prefer paragraphs upon paragraphs of description, or do they prefer fast pacing and snarky banter?
  • Do they want the common cultural status quo upheld or challenged?
  • Do they read merely for entertainment, or do they want to be prodded to think?
Both Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Does your audience tend to be a particular sex or gender?
  • What age do they tend to be?
  • Do they hang out online or offline?
  • How do they seek the kind of information or entertainment you’re seeking to provide them?

See, the answers to these questions will affect how your work should be written and edited.

A how-to manual for beginners will look different from a how-to manual designed for people already familiar with the topic. A novel written in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien or Robin McKinley will look different from a novel written in the style of Lindsay Buroker or Patricia Briggs—all of which have differences from Lisa Shearin or even my own fantasy writing.

By the end of figuring who your ideal reader is (and write it all down), not only will you have an idea of what audience you need to target, to make sure your title suits those individuals’ needs—but you’ll also have the foundation for figuring out your marketing plan.

And that question—“Who is your ideal reader?” or “Who is your intended audience?”—is one any good editor will ask you, if it isn’t already clear from what you’ve written or told them.