Every piece of content requires editing to ensure that the message is being conveyed in the best possible way. Editing is necessary for all types of content so as to make it more readable and apt for the chosen target audience. Such content always attracts more readers or customers.
The question is, what type of editing do you need for your content?
It all depends on the rigorous standards of the content being developed. There are many ways in which you can edit content. However, the basic principle of all kinds of editing is to allow a consistent, grammatically accurate, and error-free message flow.
While there are many different types of editing, not every editor uses the same approach. Most editors use a mix of one or more approaches to assess, evaluate and improve content.
In this post, we will cover five basic types of editing every writer should know about.
1. Developmental Editing
Developmental editing, also known as conceptual editing or manuscript appraisal, is done at an early stage in the writing process when an author has an idea or a rough outline but needs help to stitch it all together.
A developmental editor sees the big picture of your book, manuscript, article, or any other content piece, by focusing on the structure and organization of your ideas, rather than looking at just the choice of words, grammar, and punctuation. This approach ensures that the structure or organization of your copy is aligned with the stories or messages being conveyed.
The goal of developmental editing is to answer key questions that can amp up the strength of your writing style. Developmental editing does not involve writing or rewriting but offers suggestions to organize a writer’s ideas in a better way.
Questions asked during the developmental editing process may include:
- Are you leaving out any key information?
- Is there irrelevant content that needs to be removed?
- Will people enjoy the style and flow of ideas in the story?
Developmental editing ensures that your content is visualized through a reader’s eyes, offering feedback that helps improve the reading experience.
2. Evaluation Editing
Evaluation editing or structural editing is done when an editor looks at a manuscript to evaluate the structure, completeness, flow, and overall quality of writing. In this type of editing, the writer is offered short suggestions and memos to address the key areas of concern in the flow of content. With a focus on the structural integrity of writing, an evaluation edit also focuses on the big picture.
The key difference between an evaluation edit and a developmental edit is that you need a completed piece of content for evaluation. In contrast, developmental editing starts at the ideation stage itself. Once you have received a good evaluation for your writing, your content may be ready for proofreading or copyediting.
Since you have to present a complete manuscript for an evaluation edit, the goal is to safeguard your book from further edits, with enough attention to the readability, flow of thought, and vocabulary chosen. The editor may also offer suggestions to improve your content, thereby furnishing a channel for exchanging ideas during the editing process.
3. Content Editing
Content editing is also called full editing or substantive editing. In this case, an editor digs into the words on a page. Unlike developmental and evaluation edits, the content editor carefully edits the manuscript with keen attention to sentence structures, ideation, and choice of words.
A content editor offers a paragraph-level markup on any piece of content, with corrections, suggestions, and advice. The focus is also on the voice or tone of content, which significantly impacts a reader.
A content editor should be aware of the target audience as well and edit accordingly. Additionally, he or she will make sure that your content is authentic.
A content editor won’t modify your chapters but usually moves sections and paragraphs around within a chapter or removes unwanted or irrelevant text. Unlike line editors (more on them below), they are not concerned with the decorative elements of your sentence structure.
4. Line Editing
Line editing is also called stylistic edit or comprehensive edit, where a line editor offers a line-by-line review for any content manuscript. While developmental, evaluation and content editing processes involve a high-level analysis of your content, line editing is meant to refine the vocabulary, tone, message, and sentence structure.
A line editor doesn’t review an entire book, a chapter, or paragraphs. Rather, the line editing process involves keen attention to every sentence in the manuscript. Jumping into the manuscript with both feet, line editing provides a detailed edit where your structured content begins to sing.
As a writer, it is important not to jump into line editing before your content is properly structured and organized. That’s because line editing focuses on the minuscule aspects of grammar, punctuation, choice of words, and imagery to bring out the most in each sentence.
Like every other editor, the line editor also focuses on the flow of your content, but he or she is more concerned about how each word in a sentence mingles with others to create a dynamic reading experience.
Line editors suggest improvements on run-out sentences, fragmented sentences, and cliches. They help a writer clarify the meaning of a sentence, eliminate complex jargon and ensure that each sentence offers high readability. By tightening the sentences, line editing offers streamlined structural integrity at the sentence level of a manuscript.
A line editor is not concerned with errors in the structure of your sections but is more concerned with words used to communicate with readers. Line editing involves simplifying, shortening, and making each sentence precise for easy readability and relatability.
While the line editor performs like a copyeditor, their suggestions are usually less critical.
5. Copy Editing
When a manuscript or a piece of content is completed, even after going through the editing process, you have to fill the gaps and ensure its quality is retained. At the final stages of editing, a copy editor must carefully go through the manuscript and find spelling, punctuation, and grammatical mistakes.
No matter how refined your language may be, there could be minor errors that can dent the quality of your writing. Copyediting ensures that there are absolutely no mistakes in the final draft.
On average, only 60% of people detect errors, and professionals may catch up to 85% of errors in writing. Copyediting minimizes the errors and offers the best version of a final manuscript.
While copy editing is different from proofreading, it is assumed that all writers proofread their content before submitting it for editing or publication. Yes, the proofreading process is just as important.
At the end of the day, all it takes is relentless focus or attention to detail. Every writer should be aware of these five types of editing to ensure that their piece of content meets the quality standards before it is sent for editorial review.