What’s the difference between developmental editing and copyediting? Basically, it’s a matter of degree.
A developmental editor (DE) may have solid copyediting skills but works primarily on the story level. My approach to developmental editing is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript and then give a number of options for revision, in keeping with your voice and your vision. As a DE, my goal is to help a writer shape the work into its best possible form.
Read an example of a DE note here.
A copyeditor (CE) wants to make sure your writing is clear, correct, and consistent. This is the most essential service an editor can provide for your manuscript. Copyeditors apply standards of writing to give your work a professional polish. The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, are my go-to references. The CE’s goal is to inspire a reader’s confidence in your work by eliminating errors and ragged writing from the page.
And yes, there’s something in between. Line editing focuses on language at the paragraph and sentence level to tighten the wording, weed out passive construction, and give your lines a better rhythm and flow. This is most useful for nonfiction writers with solid organization, punctuation, and mechanics who want their writing to stand out.
What level of editing do you need for your project? Read more about Wells Editing services.