Structural Edit Song Bird 3

Structural EditStructural Edit Song Bird 3

My children’s superhero novel, Song Bird 3 is zooming in soon!

I just finished collaborating with a professional editor on a structural edit to prepare Song Bird 3 for publishing at Digital Future Press.

Penny Springthorpe, ex Penguin editor worked with me on structural edits for Song Bird series: Song Bird Superhero and The Battle of Bug World.

Can Song Bird Superhero defeat the evil child genius?


Can Song Bird save the bees and the environment from Destructo?

I’m thrilled with the incredible Reviews for the Song Bird series by Karen Tyrrell author.                    So far I received *5 STAR Reviews from Reading Time, Buzz Words, Disney Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, readilearn, Just Write for Kids, Educate Empower, Goodreads and Amazon. HERE

What is a Structural Edit?

A structural edit improves your story structure by looking at the MACRO picture. It analyses how to enhance your story by asking: ‘Does your manuscript work as a book?’

In fiction, the structural editor will address:

  • Plot: Does the plot make sense? Is it believable? Is it satisfying or leave the reader frustrated?
  • Themes: Do the themes interfere with the plot or complement it?
  • Characterization: Are your characters well developed and believable? Are they cast in a role that fits their personality? Do they sometimes behave out of character?
  • Point of view/voice: Is the voice consistent or is it sometimes confused? Is the voice authentic?
  • Pace: Does the plot move forward at an appropriate pace? Should the action happen sooner or should the tension build more slowly?
  • Dialogue: Do your characters sound real when they speak? Is your dialogue cluttered with adverbs and beats? Do you use clunky dialogue to move the plot forward?
  • Flow: Is the narrative interrupted by dead-ends, tangents or too much back story? Are there missing plot points that would give the narrative greater integrity?

What’s the first step of a Structural Edit?

Make sure your story is already written with a strong story structure. I wrote Song Bird 3 within the framework of the Heroes Journey. Then its critiqued, Beta read and rewritten many, many times.

When its the very best it can be, I seek a quote. I sent away my entire manuscript in the exact order I wanted it to appear in my book. These pages included dedication, acknowledgement, author, books published and a back cover blurb.

First Reply

A week later, my editor replied with a set of deep questions on how to improve my manuscript to kick-start me thinking and brainstorming ideas. She prepared me for the intensive questions arriving next.

How is a Line Edit/ Copy Edit different?

First, my editor corrected spelling, grammar, punctuation and tense on the actual manuscript.

Structural Edit Song Bird 3

Structural Edit itself

Next, my editor made requests on the manuscript in comment boxes. She either explained why she changed something. Or she asked questions to clarify a story plot point or a character.

Structural Edit Song Bird 3

Response Sheet

Over the next two weeks, I carefully answered each question for the editor. I listed sections to be deleted, changed or added. I sent these responses away. A few days later, my editor returned my manuscript with all my changes included. Carefully, I proof read this version checking for any discrepancies.

6 Sizzling Secrets for a Structural Edit

  1. Create the most intriguing, riveting story you can, with characters you care about who leap from the page.
  2. Ensure your story is critiqued by Beta Readers and critiquers. Thanks to my writing group, Write Links. …  Rewrite yours BEFORE you send it to an editor. This will save time and money.
  3. Choose the most highly acclaimed editor in your genre.
  4. Read the structural edit notes and suggestions carefully before you begin. Allow the possibility of changes to absorb into your thinking.
  5. Answer the structural edit questions one by one, asking yourself, What If? Take your time.
  6. Check your responses and edits carefully before sending back the final version to the editor.

What comes next?

This week, I continue to work with my illustrator, cover designer and book designer on Song Bird 3. My Book designer will format the pages so they follow the same book design in the Song Bird Series. Book Cover Café will create a cover design based on another incredible illustration by Trevor Salter.

How did you/will you structurally edit YOUR book?

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12 comments to Structural Edit Song Bird 3

  • Keith French

    Extremely useful info Karen, my manuscript is not quite up to this stage but I will use this as a plan when I get there. Many thanks for sharing all your valuable knowledge and experience.

  • Hi Keith,
    Thanks so much for checking my Blog on Structural Edits.
    I hope you will considering doing one when your manuscript is finished.
    Happy editing … Karen 🙂

  • Very helpful Karen – thank you!
    Where’s the best place to find a good structural editor?

  • Hi Wenda,
    Thanks for checking my Blog on Structural editing.
    Go to Book Cover Cafe website.
    Find the section on Structural editing and request a quote. Ask for Penny Springthorpe who specializes in children’s books.
    Good luck,
    Karen 🙂

  • Great post, Karen, and best wishes for Song Bird 3. Can’t wait! 🙂

  • Deb

    Hey Karen, Thank you for writing such a useful post. Some great information included. Wishing you every success with your new upcoming work.

  • Hey Deb, Lovely to see you here again.
    Thrilled my post is useful to you.
    Thanks for your good luck wishes for Song Bird 3.
    Karen x

  • Thanks Norah, for your incredible support once again. You’re going to LOVE Song Bird 3 … Karen x

  • Hi Karen, I think that your detailed description of your structural edit for Songbird 3 will be helpful for a lot of writers, and might save writers from spending money on a line edit before they have nailed the structure.

    I want to ask you if you know a children’s book agent that you could recommend. One who handles picture books, first chapter and middle grade books.

    Thanks, Margo

  • Hi Margo,
    Thanks for checking out my blog. I agree, developing the right structure must come before your line edit.
    As far as Book agents, you could check this link Each agent has a preference for subject matter and genre. Google too. Also check international agents based in London and New York for a wider publication.
    Best wishes, Karen 🙂

  • Leslee Anne Hewson

    Very interesting, Karen. Thanks for sharing 😊

  • Hi Leslee,
    Thanks for popping over to check out my blog. Thrilled you’ve found it interesting.
    Happy writing … and editing,
    Karen x

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