Different Types Of Editing

Editing is the process in which a manuscript is modified, corrected and polished thoroughly. In the literary world, there are different kinds of editing. Editing is very subjective, depending upon what exactly is lacking or needs improvement regarding the overall quality of the individual manuscript. For example, in some manuscript, prose needs tightening, whereas in the other the overall plot-structure needs to be fixed, or in some, the scenes are not executed well or the dialogues are lacking in quality, and so on. So the first job of an editor is to determine (based on the sample chapters they are provided by the writer) to determine which kind of editing does their work needs.

Editing is the process of correcting and polishing the manuscript in order to make it stand out.

To understand this better, the editing can be categorised as following::

  1. Developmental Editing
  2. Substantive Editing or Structural Editing
  3. Copy Editing
  4. Line Editing
  5. Mechanical Editing

Now, let’s take a look at the definition of all the types of editing listed above and try and understand them better:

Different Types Of Editing

1. Editing (in the overall sense):

Editing involves changes that polish your manuscript technically by focusing on the sentence structure, chapter placement, scene structuring, fitting a manuscript in a structured plot, and making the manuscript better in every way possible for the author. While editing, the overall story remains the same. Here, ‘fixing’ the manuscript’s structure, as well as the overall plot, is the priority.

2. Developmental Editing:

The Developmental Editing looks deeply at the organisation and strength of a manuscript. Think BIG PICTURE. In Developmental Editing everything from pacing to characters, point of view to writing techniques, plot-line to subplots, and dialogue to exposition, everything is not only worked at but also DEVELOPED by the editor.
In Developmental Editing all the issues of the manuscript, including, form, plot, character, over-arching themes, plot structure, framing of sentences, dialogues, scenes, chapters, characterisation, dimensionality of the concept and plot, internal as well as external character conflicts, character arcs, story arcs, etc are developed, rectified and resolved. All the weak links in the manuscript are weeded out and the order, flow, and consistency of the narrative voice, and sentence structure is scrutinised.
Big Questions such as “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?” “is there a gaping hole in the information or story presented?”, and “are the characters likeable?” and many more are all answered in this editing.
Developmental Editing considers all the aspects of a manuscript that makes the manuscript readable and enjoyable for the READERS.
Because of the extensive nature of this form of editing, it is more time-intensive.

3. Substantive Editing:

Substantive editing considers a work’s organisation and presentation. It involves tightening and clarifying at a chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence level.
Unlike developmental editing, which covers the big-picture issues and deep-level restructuring, substantive editing deals with the actual prose.
Substantive Editing aims to ensure that the structure, content, language, style and presentation of the document are suitable as per the genre, structure of the plot and the target readers.

4. Copy Editing:

Copyediting, commonly confused with line editing, is a light form of editing that lends a professional polish to a book. The editor reviews your work, fixing any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation and any glaring mistake son the surface of the story.

Copy Editing is the least-expensive version of editing. Some professionals divide copy editing and line editing into two separate edits, copy editing being the lighter, grammar-only edit, and line editing being a more intense look at each sentence’s meaning.

5. Line Editing:

Line editing is often used interchangeably with the term copyediting. However, when it is distinguished from copyediting, it refers to a unique edit that falls between copyediting and developmental editing in intensity. In line editing, the editor looks at your book line by line and analyses each and every sentence.
The editor considers word choice and the power and meaning of a sentence. The editor considers the syntax and whether a sentence needs to be trimmed or tightened. Line editing helps in making the prose sing.

6. Mechanical Editing:

Mechanical editing refers to the Editing done as per a particular style guide such as the The Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press (AP) Style or the MLA Style Guile, , the Oxford Style Guide or any of the other 5 style guides is called Mechanical Editing.

So these are the types of manuscript editing a writer has to inevitably come face-to-face with, at some point or the other, in their writing journey. So it is always advisable to know these terms before you deal with an editor who might expect you to already know about them. Or better yet, it might save you from a trap if, god-forbid, you end up with an editor who doesn’t know what they are doing (believe me, there are a lot of people who just do things for the sake of it, and of course also for the money.) So educate yourself well, before negotiating any kind of deal with an editor especially while self-publishing.

If you want to request a quote for the editing of your manuscript or need a suggestion as to which editing your manuscript might need, then drop an email at rathoreheena@gmail.com with your manuscript details (name, genre, word count and short synopsis) along with the first 2 chapters of your manuscript.

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