Quick Visual of 4 Levels of Editing

Proofreading, Copyediting, Line-editing, and Content Editing

Sometimes it’s easier to see the differences in a table.

All four levels of editing are concerned with maintaining the author’s voice throughout. It’s your story, it must be in your voice with your style.

Type of Edit Proofread Copyedit Line-Editing Content,
Developmental,
Substantive
Edit
Ensures that the author’s voice, his/her style is maintained throughout
Fixes misspellings, grammar, punctuation in text, footnotes, endnotes, glossaries, etc.
Ensures consistent appearance:

  • Cleans up doubles & blanks
  • Ensures proper space between paragraphs
  • Eliminates widows and orphans (eek, that sounds bad!)
  • Verifies that numbers for pages, figures, and tables are accurate and consecutive
Verifies links connect and are using SEO
Notes consistency errors
Looks for word or phrase problems (slang terms from the 1920s are not appropriate in Regency romances):

  • Notes clichés
  • Eliminates modifiers where possible
  • Eliminates words or phrases used too often
  • Eliminates unnecessary words
  • Notes mixed metaphors
Ensures proper styling for caps, italics, foreign words, titles, numbers, and more
Verifies facts
Eliminates passive voice
Catches loose threads
Emphasizes individual sentence construction:

  • Excessive wordiness or bloat
  • May rewrite sentences and paragraphs with a focus on the grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Ensures that paragraphs contain one idea at a time
  • Ensures that paragraphs flow from one to the next
Examines dialog for:

  • Awkwardness
  • Unrealistic for the character, the plot
Includes notations about text flow
Concentrates on the structure of the manuscript, the writer’s style, and the story content, looking for particular problems
Rearranges sections of text, possibly rewriting sections

  • May recommend substantial changes in the entire manuscript
Rewrites for a smooth, clear, logical flow and readability — that the horse gets saddled before the hero leaps up on it
Identifies weaknesses in character and plot development
Ensures that:

  • Plot events are plausible
  • With believable dialog
  • Pacing suits the story, the scene
Ensures consistency of:

  • Character(s)’s behavior, description, or dialog
  • Point-of-view and tone
  • Story continuity
Ensures layout usability
Analyzes the language to ensure proper word use for the genre audience

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