What Type of Editing Is There?

Every writing project needs an editor.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing the book, or using a ghostwriter. Ever piece of writing should receive an editor review.

Why? Editors are trained professionals who help you make your writing better. They look for grammatical errors, pacing, structure, and much more. They bring a fresh, objective eye to your work, identifying areas where clarity and coherence can be enhanced. They streamline your prose, eliminate redundancies and tighten loose threads, making your writing more concise and powerful. Plus they help you avoid mistakes in your manuscript that could hurt your readers trust!

Several kinds of editing exist, each with its own desired outcome and level of scrutiny. Let’s breakdown the different types so you know know which one you need for your project.

Think of It Like Building a House

The Five Levels of Editing

Here are the five primary kinds of editing, arranged by level of scrutiny. To help understand each, we can compare these levels to the different steps of building a house.

1. Developmental Editing

Think of developmental editing like architecture, demolition, and construction projects. These are large changes. You could end up with an extension, a new floor to the house, or an outbuilding.

Developmental editing takes a zoomed-out perspective. It looks at the main ideas communicated and how best to convey them. A developmental editor will reorder chapters, cut out entire sections, or even ask for a huge chunk of the book to be rewritten.

2. Content Editing

Content editing is like remodeling. The bare bones are in place, but the room could look entirely different by the time the project is finished.

This could mean dramatically expanding or diminishing chapter length, rearranging sections within a chapter, or even rewriting the entire chapter utilizing a different voice.

3. Line Editing

Line editing is like updating the interior with new appliances and furniture. It is more cosmetic than a full remodel, but doesn’t go into as much detail as copy editing or proofreading.

When I line edit, I take a look at each paragraph and sentence and ask, “Is this the best way to communicate this idea?” It often means changing the order of sentences in paragraphs, altering where they begin and end, and rewriting sentences to give them a greater impact. It also begins to take a look at proper writing convention, things like spelling, grammar, and style, to align it with the standards of the chosen style manual.

4. Copy Editing

Copy editing is closely related to line editing and proofreading, but still deserves its own category. This is where you go through the house and make sure everything looks good. Maybe a painting is hanging crooked and you correct it. Perhaps you decide to paint the cabinets a different color.

Copy editing looks like swapping out verbs and adjectives for punchier or more appropriate versions, correcting spelling and grammar, and ensuring a consistent style. For example, I make sure that the text always spells “impostor” or “imposter” the same way (both are acceptable, but they need to be consistent).

5. Proofreading

Proofreading is like an inspector coming out to the house after it’s finished. They walk around with a clipboard and flashlight, taking a look at everything and making sure it meets the building code.

If you’ve done the prior levels of editing correctly, a proofreader will not have much to do. They will discover slight errors in capitalization, or a misplaced comma here and there, or standardize the way that the text displays numbers (digits or writing them out below a certain number).

Going through each of these editing levels will make your piece shine and ensure it gets the attention it deserves!

Need Help Writing? 

At Alliance Ghostwriting we help rebellious leaders establish authority and build their audience with high quality ghostwriting and copywriting. Do you want to write a book or recurring blog? We’ve got you covered.

You break the mold, we’ll handle the writing. Contact us to learn more!

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