Editing is about making your message matter – helping it achieve its purpose. After you’ve done the hard work of preparing your text, the next step is to polish it to perfection.
How? Editing focuses on enhancing your writing’s:
Without maximising each of those aspects, your messages may not get through to the right reader with the right impact.
Different types of editing
There are different levels of editing that I can apply to support your writing’s journey.
(You don’t need to worry about which one to choose: that’s why we have a chat about what you’d like to achieve and how I can help you achieve it.)
But it can be helpful to know the following terms and definitions.
Developmental and structural editing
Bigger-picture functions that ensure the work has the most appropriate overall structure for its purpose, that its length and focus are suitable and that the way all its parts are arranged is the best for reaching and engaging its audience or readership.
Developmental editing usually applies to book manuscripts and refers to the collaboration between an editor and an author to help the plotline, characters and inherent point ‘develop’ into the best possible draft version, ready for further refinement. (This applies to non-fiction as well as fiction.)
Structural editing will look at the work’s cohesion, accessibility and navigation to make sure the reader will be able to ‘get into’ the text and connect with it.
Copyediting and line editing
What most people think of when they think about editing: the close-up, finely detailed, red-pen work. (Many editors combine the two when they copyedit. But it’s helpful to know that there are different skills being applied at this stage of your book’s production.)
Copyediting provides a detailed review of the language, form and grammar in the document to find and correct typographical errors, lapses in appropriate grammar or word usage, spelling mistakes, text misalignment, errors in number format or punctuation, general factual inaccuracies and style inconsistencies.
Line editing is the related close look at the order and logical flow of sentences and paragraphs. It puts the language under the microscope, line by line.
The very last check of documents, manuscripts, web content or page proofs prior to publication or distribution. This can involve checking the layout, page order and numbering, chapter or section numbering and titling, positioning of elements, heading levels and other formatting, and making sure that earlier edits have been accurately incorporated.
For a web page or other screen publication, it will involve checking links, metadata, navigation and other functionalities.
A word of advice: proofreading is not copyediting! It’s a quality control step, not a polishing step. If your manuscript, website or document has not yet been professionally copyedited, proofreading will not be what’s needed. If you’re looking for a ‘proofread’, let’s chat about what exactly you want done: it may in fact be a copyedit.