Categories of Editing
Categories of Editing

The last post in my series on how to self-publish was called Self-Publishing Costs. The biggest upfront cost often is editing.

In my next two posts in the series, I’ll look at the editing of a fiction manuscript in more detail. This post focuses on the categories of editing.

When I blogged about upfront costs, I noted that there are categories of editing that roughly break between developmental editing and copy editing. The Professional Editorial Standards of the Editors’ Association of Canada use the categories of structural editing and stylistic editing, which together can be seen as developmental editing, and the categories of copy editing and proofreading. Here is a summary of those four categories.

Structural Editing: This type of editing involves assessing the manuscript to improve its organization and content.

In considering organization, the editor reviews if the manuscript has a coherent structure and progression of ideas. She may suggest repositioning chapters, or revising, cutting or expanding entire sections.

For content, the editor considers deletions of repetitive material as well as additions to fill gaps or improve transitions. She also considers if dialogue or description is overused and if any portions of the manuscript require permissions or contain questionable accuracy or inadequate research.

Stylistic Editing: This process looks at the clarity, flow and smoothness of a manuscript’s language. Another term is “line editing”.

In assessing clarity, the editor looks at sentence construction and word choice. She may rewrite sentences or whole paragraphs.

Reviewing flow involves considering the transitions between sentences and between paragraphs, and possibly reordering them or adjusting their length.

For smoothness of language, the editor considers whether the language and reading level are appropriate for the intended audience, and whether they are maintained. She also looks for consistent tone and style, and for wordiness.

Copy Editing: This is editing for correctness, consistency, accuracy and completeness. The editor ensures that the rules of grammar are followed, and that spelling and punctuation errors are corrected.

Proofreading: For a fiction manuscript, this is a last check for errors.

In my next blog in the series on how to self-publish, I’ll consider the critical decisions whether to hire an editor and who to hire. I’ll also review how to get the best result from the editing process.

Copyright ©2014 Peter Fritze

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