What is Editing? – Ultimate Guide

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

If you’ve written a research paper, essay, resume, or book, you need to edit it. Editing is a complex process that entails fixing grammar issues, tightening your arguments, and correcting your document format.

I deal with all sorts of editing daily, from working with editors to perfect my works of fiction to self-editing content creation and more.

But what is editing in the writing process? Why is editing important? Keep reading, and I’ll show you the definition, types, and importance of editing your written content.

What is the Best Definition of Editing?

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Editing may occur in various media formats. There’s film editing, video editing, and audio editing. But I always get asked, what is editing in the writing process? Editing in writing refers to examining a piece of writing for improved clarity and fixing grammar mistakes.

Various editing checkpoints, known as levels of editing process, consider different writing aspects. For example, developmental editors look at the content’s plot, characters, and other story elements. There’s also line editing, proofreading, and copy editing.

The editing process comes after the content writing process. Article, magazine, and book editors fix the content, organization, grammar, and technical issues.

Why Is Editing Important?

Yes, a million times, yes. Whether you’re an author like me editing your own work or hiring professional editing services, you should never skip the task of editing. The real editing process is essential to make the content stronger and free from grammatical mistakes and other errors.

It’s also vital in your content for adherence to publishers’ standards. Their guidelines and suggestions will give you insights into the type of editor you need.

For example, developmental editing is essential so you can make your story more interesting. This type of editing will help you resolve problems in your characters, climax, and dramatic scenes.

Before submitting your story to executive editors, you can hire self-employed editors for this task. Then, an acquisitions editor can help you market the novel.

High-quality, timely editing services can also help with your job. For example, a proofreader can format your resume appropriately. This stage of editing will also remove typos, spelling mistakes, and grammar errors.

Types of Editing

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In my experience, there are a couple of main types of editing based on the strategies employed.

Ongoing Edit

One of the editing lies you’ll encounter is that the editing procedure is done linearly after the writing process. Jeff Anderson emphasizes the importance of editing in class, demonstrating the combination of the writing and editing process.

Whether the writer hires professional editors or not, it’s inevitable for them to conduct editing of book manuscripts. You write an essay, change a word, erase an extra letter, then replace punctuation marks.

Doing an ongoing edit will lessen your time spent in the editing queue of publishing houses. You may perform linguistic editing by correcting your syntax and fixing clauses.

Draft Edit

The process of editing involves stopping one’s writing and reading them. Dedicated editors should note what their piece of content needs before rewriting. An effective editor should also understand the content as a whole before looking at it line by line.

Editing Explained with Examples

It’s essential to hire editors with different specialties to look at various aspects of your writing. Here are the individual editors or title of editors to consider.

Developmental and Substantive Editing

A developmental or substantive editor is an experienced editor who can help with your plot, genre, themes, and characters. For non-fiction books, a developmental editor looks at your ideas and supporting details.

Make sure to hire editors who specialize in the genre you work with. They will offer better suggestions and more significant changes for our piece of content to perform better.

Here’s an example I whipped up of developmental editing in English.

Original passage:

I hate visiting my former school because the students are rude.

Edited passage:

I hate visiting my former school because I kept feeling that the students are measuring my fat from a distance and discussing why my straight, blonde hair has gone dark, dull, and dry.

Line and Copy Editing

Once you’ve produced substantive content, you need a scholarly editor to fix your clarity of argument. Line and copy editors can be in specialized editing firms. These house editors will help you with your grammar style, factual errors, and sentence structures.

These types of editing can also be in freelance platforms. Self-employed (freelance) editors are usually more affordable but can help with the same writing aspect. The professional editor will also help with your tone, conciseness, and dialogues.

Here’s my example of an original passage and a copy-edited version:

Original passage:

I was interrupted by the nurse. She said, “If you don’t leave the questionnaire unanswered, the doctor won’t require extra laboratory tests.”

Edited passage:

The nurse interrupted me, saying, “The doctor won’t require extra laboratory tests if you answer the questionnaire.”

Proofreading or Mechanical Editing

One of the differences between editing and proofreading is that proofreading has more of a technical editing function. This step of editing focuses on misspellings, basic grammar errors, and formatting issues.

You can get proofreading services through editing firms. This technical editor will help you with incorrect verb tenses, repeated words, and double spaces. Sometimes, proofreaders are mid-level newspaper editors who will help with page numbers, layouts, and spacing.

Below is an example of proofreading.

Original passage:

I crawled back in bed and pulls the covers over my chest. But, that didn’t reduce the discomfort I was feeling, so I buried my neck under the sheets.

Edited passage:

I crawled back into bed and pulled the covers over my chest. But that didn’t reduce the discomfort I was feeling, so I buried my neck under them.

Other Types of Editing

The editor world is a big one. You’ll find other titles like design editor, chief editor, volume editor, and commissioning editor. There are also editing jobs like editor-at-large or contributing editor.

An editor-in-chief is usually the head of a publication, while a managing editor oversees the whole team and conducts training.

Edit Your Writing to Perfection

Now you know the definition and importance of editing in writing. I hope this post also helped you appreciate the craft and profession of the book editor. I honestly believe they’re the most vital part of writing and publishing.

Whether you’re completing an essay homework or publishing a book, editing will clarify your ideas and make it free from language errors. Make sure to identify the type of editing you need to achieve your writing goals on time. Test your skills with our copy editing test.