Kait's Bookshelf

The website of author Kaitlin Scirri

Do I Really Need an Editor?


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I hear this question often, and the short answer is: yes! Every writer needs an editor. I am a writer and an editor, and I seek outside editorial help on my own work. I don’t edit my own writing because it is very difficult to edit one’s own work. I try, like all of us, to put my work away for a while once it is completed and then come back to it with fresh eyes, but that is so difficult to do when you are excited about a project and anxious to get it into the public’s hands. I have decided to share some FAQs to help address some of the common questions I receive from writers about editing: what it is, why it’s important, and why you need an editor.

Q: What exactly does an editor do?

A: While many people think editing is simply checking for misspellings and grammatical errors, the truth is that an editor does far more than catch typos. While proofreading is a service that I offer, my developmental editing services consist of the following:

  • Identify fillers (unnecessary words, paragraphs, or chapters that take up space but offer little to the plot)
  • Identify filter words (words that feel like they add something to the sentence but actually make it weaker)
  • Character development
  • Plot and subplot development
  • Clarity of the story you’re telling
  • Pace (making sure the story moves along at a good flow and doesn’t move too slowly or seem to jump ahead too quickly)
  • Consistency with capitalization and character names and traits
  • Any other concerns you may have about your work – It is always helpful if you let me know the message you are trying to convey to your readers so that I can let you know if that is coming through clearly in your writing.

Q: I have already gotten positive feedback from my friends and family who have read my book. Do I still need an editor?

A: It is important to have an editor who can provide impartial feedback on your writing. If there are areas that need improvement, I will be honest about that because, as your editor, we have a professional relationship rather than a family relationship or a friendship. Also, as an editor, I have been trained to catch common errors that many others do not notice and those close to you often do not wish to point out to you for fear of hurting your feelings or straining the relationship. I always think it’s a good idea to have someone take another look at your work, and I’d be happy to be that someone.

Q: There are a lot of freelance editors out there. What sets you apart from the others?

A: Excellent question! Yes, there are a lot of freelance editors out there. However, in addition to being an editor, I am also a published writer. As a fellow writer, I know how many hours, days, weeks, and even years go into your writing, and I appreciate how difficult it can be to put your work out there for someone to read. I will handle your work with the respect and attention it deserves after all that time in the making! I am also a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, a national professional organization of freelance editors. Should you find yourself in need of editorial feedback on your writing, pre or post publication, I look forward to hearing from you!

I hope these questions and answers help to explain what an editor does and why editing is so important. If you have any questions about any of the editing services I offer, please feel free to email me and/or visit my services page!

Happy Writing!
– Kait

Author: kaitsbookshelf

I am a freelance writer and published author of multiple juvenile nonfiction books and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I'm also a book reviewer and blogger.

3 thoughts on “Do I Really Need an Editor?

  1. Kait, Can you give me an example of a “filter word”? I’m trying to come up with an example, but I just can’t. I know you’ll give me a good example because I just read your “Showing vs. Telling” post and it made perfect sense. (uh, is my nose brown enough?)


    • Hi Rob, Thank you for your question. Here are some examples of common filter words: could see, could hear, could feel, to realize or realized. These words usually distance the reader from the character so the reader doesn’t really get as drawn into the story. For example, instead of “She realized she left her cell phone at home” try “A small wave of panic gripped her when she reached for her cell phone and found it missing.” This is similar to showing vs telling in that the goal is to get the reader to really experience this moment with the character rather than to simply be told what the character is going through. Hope this helps!


      • Thank you, Kait. Now, if I may, I’d like to go wipr off that brown before I mistake it for chocolate. 🙂


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