Knowing the different types of editing that your manuscript may need will help you determine the best editor for the task.
Developmental editing is where the problems that will pull the reader away from the story are identified and the editor should offer suggestions as to how to fix the problem. Always remember, these are suggestions only. Personally, I prefer to ask questions of the author which show what the problem is and why it’s a problem and then let the author fix it anyway they want to.
Developmental editing should focus on:
• Plot development.
• Character development.
• Consistency of timeline, character and plot.
• Fact checking (as in is something logical and possible)
• Logic issues.
• Story structure.
Developmental editing can be done during and after writing.
Copy editing is the process of looking at:
• Word selection.
• Sentence flow.
• Style of writing
The purpose of copy editing, which also known as line editing, is to make each sentence the best it can possibly be. Line editing should happen after you are happy with story and are looking to make every sentence count.
This is what most people think of as editing, but in all honesty, proofreading is the last step in the editing process. It is about finding the mistakes in:
• Consistency of spelling and tense.
Proofreading must be the very last step in the process.
By knowing the different levels of editorial work, you can select an editor who specialises in that particular area.
I tend to specialise in Developmental Editing. I love to find the inconsistencies in a story and to locate where I was pulled out of a story.
Other editors prefer to polish the prose until it shines, while others are happy to look only for the mistakes in grammar, spelling etc.