The work of a good editor, like the work of a good teacher, does not reveal itself directly; it is reflected in the accomplishments of others.
William Shawn, Editor of New Yorker 1952-1987
There are different types of editors, with different functions. Developmental editing, substantive editing, line editing and copyediting. Nevertheless they all have the same goal. To help the author or writer polish and improve their manuscript or text. There can be a quite substantial overlap between the different types; to further complicate matters names, for instance line editing and substantive editing, are sometimes interchanged, as are line editing and copy editing.
“Clodagh is extremely quick to get a good grasp of the subject at hand (no matter how obscure) and this allows her to make useful suggestions to present one’s ideas more clearly. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as an editor.”Maria Marro-Perera, Independent Arts Professional.
Broadly, a developmental editor looks at the way the whole book fits together, the overall structure, plot structure and character development and motivation. Like a substantive editor, they may also check prose for readability and flow, and suggest cuts and rewrites. A line editor goes through the manuscript line-by-line, looking at the flow and cleaning up sentence structure. Copyeditors check the finished draft for correct grammar, punctuation and spelling, though that’s only a mall part of it. They also check consistency in spelling, capitalization, style and more.
However, the lines between all these are blurred. In addition, the whole editing process will be different depending on, for example, whether you’re talking about a freelance editor checking a dissertation or a commissioning editor in a publishing house. The main thing to remember is that a good editor is there to help you make your work the best it can possibly be. Without changing your voice or interfering with your style. A good editor will always work from the premise that it is your manuscript, your text and won’t seek to intrude. As regards what type of editor you need, this is something you will discuss before you start.
Labels are far less important than having a clear, detailed understanding, in writing, so that you both agree on the extent of the work and how you will approach it. This is the way I work. That decided, I’ll help you tidy up and polish any document, print or digital. Whether that be a report, sales literature, annual report, white paper or indeed any type of business communication. I will also edit blogs, books and articles.