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Your Guide to the Three Types of Editing

Finding the right type of editing can be a challenge. A lot of different terminology gets thrown around, making it tough to navigate. Here is a quick guide to the three types of editing that I offer.


Proofreading is the most basic form of editing that there is. Its purpose is to make sure a piece is free of errors and typos. What is offered at this stage can vary. It can include checking for spelling, grammar, typos, and punctuation issues. I check for run-on sentences and fragments, correct pronouns, commonly confused words, and correct punctuation. I do a spelling and grammar check. This will also catch any capitalization errors.

Line Editing

Line editing goes a bit more in depth. Things such as sentence structure, readability, and flow are dealt with. Sometimes, a sentence might need to be rewritten or a different word used to enhance the writing. When I line edit, I strive to help enhance a piece while preserving the author’s voice and personal style. Line editing also deals with making sure that things such as verb tense remain consistent throughout. Sometimes, a restructure of a sentence or paragraph might be suggested.

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing deals with a piece of writing as a whole. This looks at the big picture items. Things such as character arcs, plot holes, and overall structure are addressed. At this stage, very little editing happens. Instead, your editor will go over your story with you, identifying what needs to be done before publication. There will be quite a bit of back and forth to help develop the story to be the best it can be. Before touching your manuscript, you and I will go over your goals so that I gain an understanding of what needs to be done. When you pay for developmental editing, this is the first thing your editor will do before returning it to you to make changes. After these changes are made, they will move on to line editing and finally proofreading.

Identifying what type of editing you need is important. It will save you money in the long run, for example, to pay for developmental editing outright if you need it instead of waiting until you have already paid for line editing. It is also important to make sure you pick an editor that fits your needs, and I always recommend getting a sample edit (or a couple of them from different places) to make sure you pick the right person for the job.

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