What are the different types of editing and how are they different from one another?
I get this question a lot, so I thought I’d answer it here on our blog. There are 3 main types of editing and they’re usually tackled in this order:
1. Developmental Editing
Developmental Editing is a holistic look at a manuscript, from structure…
- Are the Nine Story Structure Checkpoints in place?
- Is the author using scene/sequel correctly?
- Are there plot holes?
- Are the characters fully developed?
- Do their voices ring true?
- Is the dialogue realistic?
- Does the author use active voice?
- Are there too many adverbs?
The end result of a developmental edit is a specific, action-oriented plan to rewrite a second draft.
2. Line Editing
A line edit is a nitty-gritty dive into each sentence to improve the overall quality of the prose (not the overall story). The end result of a line edit is a manuscript written in polished prose.
NOTE: The term Copy editing is often used interchangeably with Line editing, but there is a difference. Copy editing focuses generally on general mechanics (i.e. making sure tenses are consistent, verb/number agreement, etc.). Line editing does this but also focuses on style. Authors who write fiction, memoir, or creative non-fiction are usually better off working with a line editor.
Proofreading is the final step in the process. This ensures there are no typos, grammar mistakes, or formatting errors. It does not dramatically impact the quality of the writing from an artistic standpoint. It simply ensures the manuscript is polished and professional.