4 Types of Editing
1 Developmental Editing
Developmental editing looks at the big picture items like plot, pacing, tone, point of view, character relatability and arcs, scene construction, and consistency of worldbuilding. This edit will also include assessing effectiveness of hooks and cliffhangers, lengths of chapters, storyline order, and that your message is clear.
What to expect from a developmental edit
The editor should write a report which includes what is great about your writing and your manuscript and what could be improved. This report can vary in length but is usually between three and ten pages.
Some developmental editors will make comments in the manuscript to point out where specific issues are or where your brilliance shines.
While the editor will make suggestions on how to improve your novel, they will not do it for you. After this editing round, you will be the one making the changes.
So, what’s the point?
Developmental editing is invaluable.
It comes after you address what the beta readers have mentioned and is performed by a professional who works specifically in your genre. They know the tropes and have been trained to pick out issues with the big-ticket items and make suggestions on how to increase the reader experience and hit their expectations while helping you create the best story possible.
2 Line Editing
This round is exactly what it sounds like. Each line is assessed for its necessity, intent, clarity, etc. In this round, the editor will change or suggest changes to improve flow from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next. They will offer better word choices, more varied sentence structure, and eliminate unnecessary dialogue tags, and much more.
What to expect from a line edit
In all honesty, you will probably get back a bloody document. But don’t lose hope. Line editors are using a microscope to find ways to improve your manuscript. From the color shock alone, it may feel like your writing must be atrocious, but chances are, the better you are, the closer they are looking and aiming to lift your writing to the next level.
Suggestion: Change the document’s track changes from red to blue or purple.
Copyediting is the type of editing most people are familiar with, correcting grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. But it also includes some sentence restructuring and selective word choices, making sure things are clear and concise.
Consider this the tightening up phase.
What to expect from a copyedit
There should be much less red (or whatever color you choose) than in the line editing round.
The copyeditor will make smaller adjustments to sentence structure, decreasing repetitiveness, and ensuring consistency.
While proofreaders check for punctuation, spelling, and capitalization as well, they also look at chapter and page numbering consistency and make sure anything in italics is correct. The ensure the spacing between scenes, line breaks, indentions are right, and the layout, typeface, and front matter are formatted properly.
Proofreading is a specialized skill, and proofreaders have specific training in formatting, so when you upload your manuscript it looks just right.
What to expect from a proofread
You should expect minor adjustments to the text, most of which will be non-negotiable, like periods or single spaces between sentences. So, there won’t be many changes for you to approve or reject in this round.
You will mostly accept the final tweaks before publication, but you should still look it over to be sure everything is how you want it to be.