Developmental Editing

  • Plot and subplots
  • Characters
  • Dialogue
  • Point of view
  • Pacing and narrative shape
  • Setting and time period
  • Timeline and chronology
  • Narrative techniques

Not everyone can afford a full-blown developmental edit. Consider instead a manuscript evaluation. I will provide an 8-15 page assessment letter with suggestions for improving your novel at the story level.

Content/Line Editing and Book Doctoring

  • Phrasing
  • Word choice
  • Transitions
  • Wordiness and redundancy
  • Syntax
  • Gaps in logic
  • Clarity
  • Factual inconsistencies

Editing for content and sentence structure is a deep edit to make your writing more concise and your story or narrative more compelling. It includes two editing passes with markup and explanations in the manuscript, followed by up to two rounds of manuscript exchanges.

Copyediting or Editorial Proofreading

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Use of italics and bold type
  • Hyphenation
  • Abbreviations
  • Consistency
  • Compilation of style sheet

Copyediting is a lighter touch than line editing. It primarily addresses punctuation, grammar, spelling, and consistency. This level includes two editing passes and one manuscript exchange for final cleanup.


Proof-Editing (often called “proofreading”) is the final touch to your finished manuscript prior to formatting and design. Includes two rounds of editing to search for typos and SPAG* errors and inconsistencies. Includes one manuscript exchange for final cleanup.

*spelling, punctuation, and grammar



A fresh look of your print-on-demand or ebook before publication. Includes a final read-through to check for:

  • Typographical errors
  • Type font consistency
  • Headers and footers
  • Kerning (spacing between characters)
  • Word spacing (between individual words)
  • Leading (line spacing, line height)
  • Widows, orphans, runt lines
Levels of Editing - What type of editing do you need?

If you are just starting your publishing journey, it’s important to know that there are different levels of writing and editing.

If you have never worked with a critique group or had beta readers, the first step is getting a big-picture feedback that addresses issues with plot, characters, point of view, pacing, and timeliness, in addition to narrative techniques such as show versus tell, dialogue, voice and tone, imagery, and style. This stage is known as developmental editing.

At the next level, the editor revises sentence structure and syntax to be clearer and more concise. She ferrets out redundancy, repetition, and clichés and points out anachronisms. If your intent is not clear or statements are inconsistent, the editor will pose queries along the way. This process is known as content and line editing, and it’s a heavy edit. It’s not unusual for a line editor to reduce the size of a manuscript by 15 percent or more simply by dissecting and reconstructing with a scalpel, taking care to maintain the author’s voice. Line editing often includes some copyediting.

Next is copyediting. In a light copyedit, the editor will check the manuscript for correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. A word that is used incorrectly will be flagged but not corrected, as will confusing syntax. Inconsistencies will simply be noted. In a medium copyedit, the editor will also include suggestions for syntax revisions and point out or question gaps in logic or sentences that don’t flow well.

The most basic editing service (a light copyedit for correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as described above) is often called proofreading, though that’s a misnomer. Proofreading more accurately refers to checking page layout not only for what might have been missed in the editing process but also layout issues, such as words that are too tight or too loose on a line, too many hyphens in a paragraph, transposed words or letters, widows and orphans, etc.

Your manuscript may not need every level of editing. Contact me to discuss your best options.