Copy-editing

During copy-editing, I take a detailed look at the creative content, writing style and language use at the sentence and paragraph level, focusing on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. The emphasis is on what you are portraying and how the reader will receive your work, so I am concerned mostly with clarity and consistency and on picking up issues you may not have noticed. Not being able to see the wood for the trees is a very common hazard of being a writer!

It’s very important to me to respect your voice as the author – I won’t rewrite your work; I will raise issues for you to consider.

My copy-editing service incorporates line editing, although some editors will see these as distinct processes. There is some overlap, but they can broadly be described like this:

Line editing

Line editing looks at issues such as:

  • Words or sentences that are extraneous or overused
  • Redundancies from repeating the same information in different ways
  • Dialogue or paragraphs that can be tightened
  • Scenes where the action is confusing or the author’s meaning is unclear
  • Unnatural phrasing, or passages that don’t read well
  • Confusing narrative digressions
  • Changes that can be made to improve the pacing of a passage
  • Words or phrases that may clarify or enhance your meaning

If a manuscript need heavy line editing, that can be a sign that the manuscript would benefit from further development before going through an edit. If I feel this is the case, I will always raise the issue and advise.

Copy-editing

Copy-editing is the process of reviewing and correcting a manuscript at a technical level, looking at:

  • Corrects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax
  • Consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalisation
  • Ambiguous or factually incorrect statements (especially important for non-fiction)
  • Character issues, such as disappearing characters, inconsistent physical descriptions, illogical family trees
  • Basic fact checking, such as historical and geographical references
  • Style-sheet creation (if one has not already been created) to document for you the stylistic choices made, so that you can carry those forward to future books if required

Before sending your book for editing, ensure you have reviewed and edited it thoroughly yourself. It’s also advisable to have it critiqued, perhaps by your reading group, by beta readers, or by a professional developmental editor.

I work in MS Word with Track Changes switched on so that you can easily see the amendments and suggestions made and can choose to accept or reject each change made. If you’re unfamiliar with this function, there are many online guides and tutorials to help, such as this one, and many YouTube videos, such as this one.

I also offer a free 500-word sample edit so you can see what you’ll be getting if you book me. Ask me about booking this.