Even if you’ve never worked with an editor before, you probably know that editing comes in various shapes and styles.
A developmental editor will read for plot, characterization, pacing, motivation, style, structure, consistency of point of view, and basically everything else that you may need to address to make your story as plausible, entertaining, readable and technically clean as it can be. A developmental editor may also identify spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, especially more serious technical issues such as misplaced modifiers or incorrect verb tenses that may impact the overall quality of the writing. Some publishers rely on line editors for deep dives into style and syntax, but many developmental editors will also contribute to refining the author’s voice while working through more substantive story issues.
A copy editor will focus on grammar, punctuation, and the overall consistency and readability of your work. For example, when your character says, “Oh, my God!” on page one and then “Oh my, God,” on page twenty-five, are different meanings intended by the differences in punctuation? Or is this an inconsistency that should be corrected? A copy editor can also flag anything that disrupts the reading experience, from mistakes and typos to story-level issues, such a character who says on one page she hates coffee but then later orders her favorite latte at a coffee shop.
A proofreader should catch errors in punctuation, spelling, and usage, as well as issues such as uneven spacing, missing words, and the like.
A good editor will hear the author’s voice and work to develop it, not carve away the elements of originality that make an author unique. At the heart of an editor is a passionate reader who has critical eye and a mind for problem solving. If we do our job well, we help make your book be more than it was and all it can be.