Editors are labeled with exhaustion as a person who looks over a writer’s work, gets out the big red marker, and highlights all the mistakes of the writer.
This is not true about editors, but a misconception. As editors, we (most of us) always have the reader in mind. Therefore, you hire us to look over your work to find ways to improve it for the reader. This may happen through checking facts, grammar, spelling, flow, concept consistency, and many others that I’ll discuss later.
There are different types of editing that we go through. Some specialize in one or two. There is Developmental/ Content Editing, Line/ Copy Editing, and Proofreading. I’ll discuss each of them in detail.
But first, this is normally the process that I use when I edit.
- Read piece through once without editing anything. This helps me to understand what the writer is attempting to say. It also helps from getting too ahead of myself.
- Look at the big picture – Make sure structure is in the right order with a smooth, clear and consistent flow. Also, things aren’t missing and all questions are answered.
- Fact Check – Make sure all dates, location, math, stats, summaries, sources and the like are consistent and correct.
- Fine-tooth Comb piece – Fix typos, punctuations, usage, grammar issues (proofreading)
- Revise and Proofread again
- Add Display Types if necessary (Heading, Subheading, Photo Captions, and Summaries)
Now, that you know my process, here are the three different edits. Copy editors (such as myself) sometimes blend all three when working on smaller pieces like articles for newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
1. Developmental/ Content Edits
This is usually the first edit done even as the writer is still working on the piece. Also, it’s normally done with larger pieces such as a book or novel. It focuses on the big picture and checks for:
- Flow, consistency, and clarity
- Tone and voice (not switching from a 1st to 3rd person narrative mid-novel)
- Missing any important information for the reader
- Sticking to the main purpose throughout the work
- Plot, character development, and believability of a fiction work
2. Line/ Copy Edits
This looks at the work in more detail.
- Checks structure and flow for clear writing
- Fact checks all references and statistics
- Trims down content for most important and relevant parts
- Eliminates wordiness and redundancies
- Paraphrases jargon
- Corrects mechanical errors
- Enforces writer’s style
- Writes display types
Proofreading is normally last in the process. It’s the easiest, but it’s also no less important than the others. Misspelling a word or adding a “!” instead of a “.” will distract and confuse the reader. Ultimately, they will be turned off and stop reading. It includes:
- Punctuation errors
- Spelling errors
- Formatting errors
- Grammatical errors
This article has explained the process I go through as I edit and the different types of edits. If you would like to work together, click here and tell me a little about your project. Hope to hear from you soon.