Archive for category The Five Types of Editing

Proofreading

The final type of edit is the Proofread.

Often times this gets confused with a Mechanical Edit and as both an author and an editor, this aggravates me to no end. Most people, however, are not to blame for this mistake. You can blame your high school English teacher and often times your college professors (who should have known better).

By the time your story is ready for Proofreading, it is done. All of the other edits are complete. You are now proofreading your final copy, the Proof that has come back to you from your publisher of choice, be that an indie platform or a publishing house.

Proofreading involves making sure that the proof looks the way you intend for it to look. Are sentences broken up in odd ways? Are margins correct? Are whole parts of the page missing? Is the cover smooth and visually appealing?

Yes, some mechanical things may be found in proofreading, but that is not actually the purpose of the proof read. It is simply making sure that the final has come together well. Is the story formatted properly on the page? Does it read well in an e-reader? Is the font style clear and comfortable on the eyes for print or electronic format? Is the font the proper size for the eyes of the intended audience? Is formatting correct for illustrations and are they captioned properly?

Headers and footers should be inserted properly. The copyright pages should be formatted correctly, as should any attributions and acknowledgements. Page numbers and author/title should also be correct as should the title page.

For electronic formats, links should work properly. This includes the table of contents as well as any external links to things like author websites and social networking.

And that, friends, is Editing 101.

I’m going to return to talking about editing again soon. I’ll be offering some tips for writers having to do the editing themselves and some survival tips for those working with an editor that I have learned along the way.

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Format Editing

This is one of the last stages of editing before a book or story is actually published. Who does this type of editing depends. Traditionally published books and magazines have their own editors to do this for the author. Independent authors and vanity presses often put this onto the author, who may do it themselves or hire editors.

In a publishing house or magazine, the Format Edit includes three types of editing. For our purposes, looking at this from the self-publishing, independent author perspective, I prefer to put them under one umbrella. To understand how to properly format your book and have it ready for print, however, it is important to look at what is involved in each sub-edit.

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The Mechanical Edit

Hello everyone. Many apologies for not being back in a little while to get up the next Five Types of Editing installment. I have been very busy with the release of The Shulim Cycle Book of Susan and lots and lots of editing work. Now that I have a moment, however, I wanted to pick up where we left off: The Mechanical Edit.

The Mechanical Edit is usually the edit that authors look at and say “I hate editing.” This is a line by line edit, however it is not looking at sentence structure, voice, and transition. Instead, the Mechanical edit is concerned with four primary aspects of the work:

  • Grammar – Noun/verb agreement, proper use of prepositions, etc. Did you use words correctly – Their/there/they’re, lie/lay, for example.
  • Punctuation – Are commas, semi-colons, and periods used correctly? Are quotations punctuated properly?
  • Spelling – Did you spell words correctly? This catches not only misspellings, but also words spelled correctly, just not in context. Examples include no and not, though and thought, etc.
  • Specific Mechanical Needs – Citations, captions, and text separations are also included in the mechanical edit.

The Mechanical or Copy Edit is just what it sounds like. It is the mechanical form of the written word, making sure everything is smooth and correct. It is often called Copy Editing because it is the editing step that leads from manuscript to copy – or print.

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Line Editing

Line Editing, also known as Stylistic Editing, is just what it sounds like – working over the story line by line. This is the first edit that a story goes through that involves examining the Writing Craft. In the writing process, everything up to this point has been focused primarily on the Fiction Craft.

This is a very difficult, very time-consuming edit. It is not something that can or should be rushed. All works should be put through a Line Edit. How many changes the editor will need to do will depend on the writer. Some writers are very good at the Writing Craft; others are not. All writers sit on a spectrum. It is the job of the Line Editor to make every writer look like a genius.

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Developmental Edit

So when I introduced this series, the Five Types of Editing, I mentioned that writing involves really two types of craft – Fiction Craft and Writing Craft. The edit that I’m going to talk about today is what helps build and strengthen the story through the first of those crafts, and that is the Developmental Edit. This has a few other names, depending on the editor. Developmental is the most common I have found. Another common name is the Substantive Edit.

Several types of edits make up the Developmental Edit, and each of these edits are their own skill set. I put the following type of edits under the Developmental Edit umbrella:

  • Project Editing – Coordination of the project from beginning to end
  • Structural Editing – Content and structure of the manuscript
  • Indexing – listing names, places, clothes, residences, concepts, etc.
  • Fact Checking/Reference Editing – Do you include references to poems and songs, artwork, places, etc? Are these referenced correctly and are facts about them true?
  • Picture Research – Are you including illustrations in your work? If so, where will they go? How will you reference them? Do you have the adequate permissions?
  • Rewriting – Just that: rewriting the work. This can also include rewriting other shorter snippets of stories into the new work.

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The Five Types of Editing

It is that time again. It is NaNoWriMo, also known as that time when writers find themselves blocked and removed from the social networks of friends who are tired of reading things like “Oh wow! I got 1,000 words today,” “Hey look, I’m at 9,000 words. Only 41,000 to go,” and “Why can’t I write today? I have only 2,700 words and it is November 29th!”

As it is National Writing Month, this is a good time to introduce your favorite new writer to editing, and for those of you who have been doing it a while, to brush up on just what editing is.

When we say “editing” what do we mean?

Truth be told, you have to ask the person talking about the editing to know. The type of editing that a person is talking about will depend greatly on the work, and where that work is in the writing process. We have some different names for types of editing, but labels aside, they pretty much mean the same thing, and they boil down to five basic types of edits:

  • Developmental Edit
  • Line Edit
  • Mechanical Edit
  • Format Editing
  • Proofreading

I’m going to be talking about each of these in some detail in this series, The Five Types of Editing. You can see that series here at The Writer’s Manifest and as contribution to StreetWraith Press.

Before I begin talking about editing, however, I want to talk about the difference between the Writing Craft and Fiction Craft.

Oh, there is a difference.

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