The Three Stages of Fiction Editing

Each stage of fiction editing is briefly explained below. For more information, the link at the bottom of this page will open a PDF file.

Structural Editing
Structural editing also known as 'developmental editing'. The editor reads through the typescript in order to understand the whole story and how everything fits together; analysing such things as narrative voice, plot, structure, point of view, character definition, and dialogue. If major issues are found at this stage, the author will need to rewrite before copy-editing can commence.

The copy-editor carries out an in-depth check of the text before it is typeset to produce a proof copy (a trial print of the finished book), checking for timing and continuity problems, loose ends in the plot, inconsistencies, irrelevant detail, factual errors, repetition, copyright and libel, as well as spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Some minor rewriting may be required by the author.

A proofreader works with the proof copy to check the text, line by line, for last-minute errors and omissions before publication takes place, paying particular attention to spelling and punctuation. Copy-editing is a more complex job than proofreading, but both are equally important as mistakes can be missed (or even created) at the copy-editing stage.