Need an Editor? First, you need to determine the kind of editing that you require. Still trying to figure it out? Were you aware there are different kinds of editing? There are six types of editing, although some of them can overlap. Will you need all or only a few of these to perfect your writing? It depends on your experience level and where you are in your writing. If you are reading this blog, you are probably new to writing. You could learn that these types of editing are an intertwined process that starts with the rough draft and, after undergoing many changes, hopefully, ends up as a flawless, published piece of prose to be enjoyed by many readers. The more experienced you become as a writer, the more focused and aware you will be about the particular edits that need to be done. More seasoned writers can make their own content revisions while still in the writing process of their draft.
However, no matter how established you become as a writer, you will always need a professional editor to look at your writing to make improvements. An objective second set of eyes can see a whole different perspective and will help you see beyond your vision to communicate a better version of that vision.
First, you must look at what stage you are in your writing. If you are in the beginning or middle of a manuscript and find that you cannot continue writing because you feel blocked or stuck, you will need the help of a developmental editor. Your passion for your topic or idea from the onset has now started to fizzle because you can’t find the right wording or research to communicate your story or support your argument. That is when you need the help of an editor to develop your story, hence developmental editing.
Developmental editing involves looking at the entire structure of a body of writing to ensure that major parts such as the plot, character arcs, setting, pace, tone, point of view, and language come together in a cohesive fashion that will resonate with the reader. Some major parts may have to undergo rewrites or revisions to ensure the writing is engaging and makes sense.
What if you have an outline or framework fleshed out for your beginning, middle, and end yet cannot come up with details to organize your ideas or develop your plot? Substantive editing will help with this by improving the content's structure or organization. It delves into the wording, paragraphs, and chapter breakdown to better develop characters, plot pacing, more imaginative descriptions of the environment, and compelling conflict that will hold the reader’s interest. For non-fiction, substantive editing focuses on ensuring the wording is strong and succinct enough to support the author’s argument and fact-checking to avoid false claims.
While Developmental and Substantive Editing consider the overall quality, meaning, and organization of writing, the next phase in the editing process is concentrating on text mechanics. Copyediting involves reviewing the text after the manuscript is complete, such as sentence structure, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and spelling, to check for and correct as needed. If improving word choice is a factor in conveying meaning and enriching tone, the editor may recommend delving deeper into the copyediting process by examining each sentence. Line editing involves going line by line to revise or rewrite a sentence with verbiage that more adequately supports the topic or theme. Again, this may or may not be necessary, depending on your level of experience in writing or editing. Still, any author, at the minimum, needs a copyediting service to remove errors from the text that are easily missed due to the author’s creative concentration elsewhere. Another aspect of copyediting that may be included is mechanical editing. The editor will focus on capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviations to comply with a particular style, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Style.
Proofreading is the final editing process in which errors in grammar, spelling, or other textual mechanics not caught previously are spotted by a proofreader and corrected before the final draft is published. It is especially helpful if the proofreader is someone other than the editor who brings a fresh set of eyes to the manuscript to catch any errors the editor may have overlooked.
Publishing a quality piece of writing, whether print or digital content, a book manuscript or article, web page content, or a blog, requires adequate forethought and preparation. As an author, you spend much time and effort conveying a message that will inform, persuade, or delight your readers. With the editorial process to improve the readability of your work, the value of that message will be better understood and received. When you know the editorial process, where you are in that process, and how it can impact the enhancement of your writing, you are ready to take the next step to find an editor who can provide you with the kind of content editing that will match your needs.