Types of editing

For fiction and non-fiction

So, you've written a book – great! Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for that achievement. 

But, now what? You're possibly thinking you could do with an editor to help hone your story and amend your grammar; this is where I can help. 

Book editing is a highly specialised skill and there are, in fact, multiple forms of editing that can each help to refine your manuscript. The type of editing you decide upon will likely come down to what your manuscript needs.

While there is some variation on what these different types of editing are called, the most common forms are: 

  • Developmental
  • Copy (sometimes interchangeably called line editing)
  • Proofreading

So, how do you find out which type of editing is best for you?


Developmental editing focuses on "the big picture" and plays an important role in your manuscript's development.  

Your editor will delve into the finer points of your story. In creative writing, this can include looking at your story's plot (and potential holes), character arcs and thematic coherence, pacing, action sequences, dialogue and how the manuscript handles certain topics.

It's important to note that developmental editing typically occurs before the manuscript is set in stone. Your editor will work with you to refine your story's plot and will offer suggestions for your review. These suggestions can come in the form of in-line comments or a developmental report. 

Developmental edits usually include two reads of the manuscript (one to offer suggestions and one to review how the suggestions have been taken in). 


Copyediting (sometimes used interchangeably with 'line editing') focuses on the craft of writing.

Copyeditors will review the technical aspect of writing, looking at spelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax and overall sentence and paragraph flow to ensure your writing is generally 'correct.'

However, not only will your editor make sure your writing is grammatically correct, but they will also help to enhance the overall quality of your writing. By reviewing the style and tone (and making sure it remains consistent and coherent throughout) copyeditors will begin to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. 

Copyediting usually involves edits made directly to the manuscript (via tracked changes for the author's review) with additional comments that include further suggestions. 

Copyedits typically include one read of the manuscript. 

Analysing your manuscript


Proofreading is typically the final step in the editing process and focuses on meticulously reviewing the manuscript to ensure that it is completely free of errors before it goes to print. 

Proofreaders will examine the text for typographical errors such as misspellings, misplaced punctuation, and inconsistencies in formatting. 

With strong attention to detail, your editor will read your manuscript word-by-word and ensure that all lingering errors have been resolved. They will also check the overall layout of the document, making sure that the text is properly aligned, the headings and subheadings are consistent, and the font styles and sizes remain uniform from start to finish. 

By ensuring that the document appears visually appealing and is easily readable, you can not only enhance the reader's experience but also ensure that your manuscript reflects your credibility as an author.

To find out which form of editing will be most beneficial for your manuscript's refinement, it's good to think about where your manuscript is in terms of development. It's an age-old saying, but, much of writing really is re-writing. 

The good news is, your manuscript probably needs less editing than you think. The less-great news is, you'll probably have to put in some more work (remember when you said you wanted to write a book? Remember that). 

And, if you're still struggling to decide which type of editing is right for you, please reach out and we can discuss your goals and create a plan to review your manuscript with these in mind. 

For specified help

For editorial enquiries, please fill out the following information:

Book title:


Brief description:

Word count:

Target market:

To also attach a sample of your manuscript, please email cameronroseneal@gmail.com

For more help, please contact me using the form below. 

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