Copyediting

Copyediting repairs errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage, syntax, and grammar. Going beyond proofreading, which involves identifying only typos, copyediting ensures correctness, consistency, clarity, and coherency by implementing a consistent formatting style, such as Chicago or AP, to enhance readability.

Depending on the condition of your manuscript, I may do some of or all the following:

Eliminate obvious errors of:

  • grammar (e.g., dangling modifiers—Dozing in the sun, the seagull devoured my lunch.)
  • syntax (e.g., lack of parallelism—Astronauts enjoy performing experiments, conducting spacewalks, and to drink coffee in microgravity.)
  • usage (e.g., erroneous word choice—For all intensive purposes, the musicians should’ve stayed home during the averse weather. But the orchestra conductor was loathe to wave the rehearsal because of her deep-seeded fear of criticism.)

Identify convoluted writing and other readerly obstacles, such as

  • wordiness
  • repetition
  • clichés
  • mixed metaphors
  • misuse of dialogue or passive voice
  • overuse of a favorite phrase or device
  • awkward punctuation or phrasing

Copyediting takes place after developmental editing but before a manuscript is self-published or sent off to an agent.

Developmental Editing for Fiction

Developmental editing for fiction focuses on the big picture and strives to pinpoint narrative pitfalls while preserving the author’s voice and vision. For this type of edit, I examine elements such as

  • characterization
  • plot
  • setting
  • dialogue
  • theme
  • pacing
  • conflict
  • tension
  • voice
  • point of view

A developmental edit takes place after you have completed your manuscript but are still working through revisions. A developmental edit may involve the author rewriting or deleting sections or even writing new material, which is why a “big picture” edit precedes any copyediting.

Both developmental editing and copyediting are completed within the manuscript using the “Track Changes” and “Comments” features in Microsoft Word.

Creation—an act of chaos
Writing—a process of discovery
Revision—a reworking of one’s vision
Editing—an ordering and refining of a writer’s brave new world