What Level of Editing Do You Need?

Once you’re done with your piece, and you’ve decided to hire an editor, you’ll probably want to know what level of editing you need. This can be confusing to some, as many writers assume that once they’ve slaved over their book and edited it, all they’ll need is a quick proofread. What if I take a look and say, “Well, you could use a line editor”? What does that mean?

Manuscript evaluation is looking at your story content as a whole. I will let you know about plot holes and about characters whose choices aren’t in line with who they are. I’ll let you know if your dialogue sounds believable for the character, time, and place. I will give you feedback both in your manuscript and in a letter.

Developmental editing is letting you know if the content and/or structure is right for your manuscript. (I can provide you with recommendations for some fantastic developmental editors.)

Line editing is as it sounds: I’ll go through your manuscript line by line, with a focus on the language you use. I’ll check through to make sure you’re communicating what you actually mean. I’ll make sure that you’re not using too many of the same words, or words that may inadvertently rhyme. I’ll note places in which you can tighten dialogue and description.

Copyediting is going through the manuscript line by line again, but this time, I’ll check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. I’ll make sure that your characters’ eyes remain the same color throughout the manuscript, that Thomas doesn’t become Joseph halfway through.

Proofreading is the final stage before you’re ready to send your manuscript to an agent or out into the world of self-publishing. I will make sure that there are no missing words or punctuation, that there are no repeated words, that page numbers are correct. I will also check the table of contents against the manuscript.