The Different Faces of Editing

editing

Editing means going through a document and catching and correcting errors, right? Wrong.

Editor extraordinaire Renni Brown (she has been editing for 50 years) does a great breakdown of the three different kinds of editing services: 

Developmental Editing

This is “big picture” editing. In nonfiction it means getting editorial feedback regarding “the impact of its content, its clarity and conviction, the flow of ideas, and the effectiveness of the writing style.”  In writing The Baby Matrix I received invaluable consultation here.  When I write, I take off my editorial hat and give it to other expert editors to help me!

Line Editing

This involves going through the manuscript line by line, and not just for punctuation or spelling, but to help make the writing “as consistently effective and appealing as possible” and “bring out the author’s voice.”  I also call this comprehensive editing. It is like taking a sculpture that is formed and helping to refine it into a finished piece.

Copy Editing

This is the editing where the editor finds punctuation, spelling, grammar errors, and is also called proofing. A lot of people think this is what editing means when it is really one kind, and comes last, after line and developmental rounds are complete.

I do all three for others, but when I am the one writing, I concur with Brown:

“The reason good writers need line editing is the same reason they need developmental editing. They’re too close to see everything. Your manuscript is your child, and who among us is capable of 100% objectivity about our own children? I’m certainly not. I wouldn’t dream of writing anything for publication without having it critiqued by at least one of our editors and the final draft line edited.”

And copy edited, for that matter. With my books, I have a full round of developmental editing, line editing and at least two rounds of proofing/copy editing.  A third round is ideal.  Why three rounds of proofing? Have you read books in which you find typos, even if it is just one? That’s why.

As a writer, I humbly submit my writing to expert editors. As an editor, I do all three kinds I list here. I can help you get your book/Ebook into publish ready shape, or any written communication for your professional purposes!

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