After a piece of work has been proof-read, it is good practice for it to undergo a more thorough edit. This will give the piece the additional polish needed to make it shine.
There is a distinct hierarchy of editorial services available to suit different needs and budgets. The services I provide are listed below in ascending order of cost and complexity.
Usually the next stage after proof-reading. Copyediting is recommended for all pieces, long or short.
Copyediting is a light form of editing that applies a professional polish to a piece of work. I will review your work and fix any mechanical errors in style, repetition, word usage, jargon and of course spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Typically the next stage after copyediting. Line Editing is recommended for longer pieces, short stories and the like.
In Line Editing, I will look at your work line-by-line and analyse each sentence. This will take into consideration word choice and the power and meaning of the sentence. Syntax and whether a sentence needs to be trimmed or tightened will also be investigated. Line editing helps to make your prose flow.
The next ‘level up’ from Line Editing. Substantive Editing is recommended for novellas, novels and other full-length books.
Substantive Editing considers a work’s organisation and presentation. It involves tightening and clarifying the piece at the chapter, scene, paragraph and sentence level. Unlike Developmental Editing, which covers the big-picture issues and deep-level restructuring, Substantive Editing deals with the prose of the piece. As such, sentences may be removed or added, paragraphs may be rewritten, condensed or expanded, and blocks of text may be moved from one section to another as required.
This is the most intensive form of editing.
The Developmental Edit looks deeply at the organisation and strength of a book as a whole, the proverbial ‘big picture’. I will consider everything from the pacing to characterisation, points of view, tense, plot, subplots and dialogue. Any weak links will be identified and queried. I will assess the order, flow and consistency of the work. Questions I may ask include;
“Is this the right number of chapters?”
“Are the chapters and paragraphs in the right order?”
“Are there any places in the book where the pacing lags?”
“Are there any holes in the information or story presented?”
“Are the characters likeable, relatable or believable?”
Developmental Editing considers all the aspects of a manuscript that will make the book readable and enjoyable. Due to the intensive nature of Developmental Editing, it is inherently more time consuming and costly.
However, for an author who wishes to build a successful career, it is a worthy investment.
Editing is highly recommended for non-fiction books and highly technical documents as well. These may include project reports, scientific and industry publications, theses, dissertations, experiment write-ups and the like.
The reasons for this are as follows;
If the piece needs to meet certain industry or academic standards, a thorough edit will ensure it meets them.
If the piece requires major revisions to make it compliant, a thorough edit will identify the alterations needed.
If the piece is lacking the content needed to make it compliant, then a thorough edit will identify these omissions.
Academic and Industry Pieces
The following three edits are tailored towards academic and industry pieces.
Here, I will amend the document’s text to ensure that it complies with a specified format, such as the format required by a specific journal. Other elements of the document will also be checked and amended where necessary. This may include alterations of tables, figures and figure legends to represent the data more clearly.
Checking References and Literature Citations
References and literature citations will be checked to ensure that those that appear in the text match the reference and citation lists, and vice versa. Where necessary, the format of the citations will be corrected to ensure they conform with requirements, such as the style preferred by a specific journal.
Available upon request, I can provide a one to two-page diagnosis of the manuscript. This will highlight the areas where changes might be most beneficial. Criticisms that are likely to arise during peer review, such as repetitive, ambiguous or incomplete information, will be identified.