By: Ariana Friedlander and Molly McCowan
Collaborating on a creative endeavor is like playing in a jazz band: everyone needs to have a shared understanding of the boundaries in order to allow for improvisation while still sounding like a cohesive unit. This balance between boundaries and creativity is at the heart of good jazz, and it’s also essential for co-creational efforts.
All too often, leaders of co-creational projects fail to set ground rules because they’re afraid to quash others’ creativity, when it’s the ground rules that allow for constructive creativity.
I recently updated the draft of A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business Your Way, and I sent it out to the book’s co-creators for their review and feedback. Long before I got to this point, however, I sat down with Molly McCowan, owner of Inkbot Editing, to talk about the basic stages of editing a book. Here they are in order:
Developmental editing – looks at the big picture, like organization, thesis, tone, structure, and pacing.
Copyediting – examines the little picture, including punctuation, grammar, syntax, and spelling. (Fact-checking is also done at this stage.)
Proofreading – checks the final pages (in PDF format) for remaining typos, problems with hyphenation or layout, or other tiny details.
At this stage with the book, I’m asking the co-creators to share developmental feedback, or #1 above. And, as with any good co-creation project (and jazz!), it’s imperative that we strive to contain everyone’s efforts so we can leverage people’s passions, strengths, and skills to create the best possible work of art. So, if you’re a grammar fanatic, try your very best to look past any spelling or syntax issues and focus on the big picture for now.
Here are 5 developmental-feedback questions to answer while reading through the manuscript:
Are any of the sections confusing, or do they feel out of place?
Are any sections overly repetitive? Where do you see overlap in the book as a whole?
Is the structure of the book successful? (Chapter order, use of headings, etc.)
Is the pacing consistent, or do you feel like some sections read much faster than others?
Is anything missing from the overall content? What could be discussed more?
This is where the co-creation process gets to be really fun for everyone—the shared Google doc will show all of your comments, and I hope we all learn something new and really dive in and explore the manuscript at our own pace.
Readers and Co-creators have already contributed valuable insights to the creative process through comments on the blog and the Misfit Mastermind Group. Over the next few weeks we will harness the collective wisdom of a select group of Co-creators to provide developmental feedback. Together we will revise and finalize the manuscript and release A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide this fall!!
Been reading the book and want to be a Co-creator with us? You too can get bragging rights as a co-creator of A Misfit Entrepreneurs Guide to Building A Business Your Way, sign up online here.
About Molly McCowan