Editing is an art, working in concert with the author. It’s not just about pulling out the proverbial red pen and marking up a document, it’s about making the written work the best it can possibly be. But not all edits are the same. In discussing editing, it’s important to know the different levels and purposes of edits. There’s a difference between proofreading and editing, as well as differences in each of those categories.
When a manuscript is submitted for editing it can go through one of several processes depending on what is needed. For example, a comparative proofread would be suitable for a book that goes through optical character recognition (OCR), where the Word document is proofread against the scanned PDF to ensure that everything came through the process correctly. And while that’s appropriate for OCR, it’s not going to catch the same errors an editorial proofread would.
So, let’s dive into the world of proofreading and editing to learn about each category:Proofreading, ComparativeDirect comparison to an original source document.Proofreading, EditorialChecks for egregious formatting errors and basic mechanical errors/typos.CopyeditingCorrects basic mechanical issues, such as spelling, punctuation, typographical errors, etc.Line EditingSentence level edit, includes copyediting as well as reworking or correcting awkward/wordy phrasing issues. Most common type of edit.Content EditingParagraph level edit. Allows for all previous edit levels and dives deeper into the meat of the manuscript.
Developmental EditAn edit that works at the structural issues of a manuscript, either in content or in organization. Editor highlights issues and makes suggestions to the author.
When a manuscript is received for edit, the first thing done is establishing the level of edit needed. Once that is completed, an editor is assigned to perform the edit. When finished, the edit is returned to the editorial manager to be reviewed by a fresh set of eyes. Every edit done by Siliconchips is checked twice. Then, it’s forwarded to either typesetting or back to the author to resolve any queries presented during the editing process.
While writing is an intensely personal process, the edit is a vital step to ensuring the author clearly communicates that which they are trying to say. Writing involves more than the author, it is communication with the reader, and an editor is a bridge between those two parties. The job of an editor isn’t to splash red ink all over the work, it’s to ensure the author’s message and voice is clearly communicated to the reader without error or confusion so that the reader may become immersed in what they are reading.
Thanks to Becca Mosher, US Project Manager, for her insights on the editing process.