Types of Editing

MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION

 

This gives a high-level overview of what works and what doesn’t in a manuscript. It is much less detailed than a developmental edit. An evaluation addresses big-picture issues such as structure, plot, characters, mechanics, and genre.


 

DEVELOPMENTAL/STRUCTURAL EDITING

 

Done on a work-in-progress or a completed draft, this is an analysis of the manuscript as a whole, focusing on big-picture issues such as structure, clarity, voice, theme, character development, plot, pacing, and factual inconsistencies. This is the deepest level of editing, often resulting in rewriting or reordering large portions of the manuscript. It can also involve researching or making suggestions on content based on the analysis of similar novels.


 

LINE/SUBSTANTIVE EDITING

 

Occurring after a developmental edit, this comprehensive edit of a completed manuscript focusing on language issues and organization at the paragraph level. It includes smoothing transitions, reorganizing material for readability and flow, cutting repetitive or superfluous content, identifying and offering suggestions on clarity, editing for consistency of tone, and querying or resolving factual errors and inconsistencies. Specific areas of focus include syntax, word choice, word/phrase overuse, and variation of sentence structure.


 

COPYEDITING

 

Focusing on mechanical issues, this edit includes correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and writer’s voice. The editor checks and imposes a consistent style and format (e.g. treatment of capitalization, punctuation, numbers, etc.). Some querying or resolving of factual errors, inaccuracies, or inconsistencies in logic may be included.


 

PROOFREADING

 

The last step before publication, this is the process of correcting any errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and typography but refraining from making structural, stylistic, or copyediting changes. Proofreading also ensures consistency in style and formatting. It usually results in changing isolated phrases, words, or punctuation, not entire sentences.

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