top of page

Industry Definitions


Content editing, line editing, proofreading...

Oh, my!

Content/Development Editing

The terms 'content editing' and 'development editing' are used interchangeably to describe a big-picture view of the story elements in your manuscript. While other forms of editing focus on the line-by-line details such as grammar and punctuation, content editing is the first line of defense in ensuring a strong foundation and maintaining consistency throughout your story.


Content editing includes:


Story Arc:       





Are the events unfolding in a way that makes sense to the reader?

Is the story organized so that it continues to move towards a conclusion?

Are your characters' actions in line with their motivations?

Is the plot reasonably plausible and are there any holes that need to be filled?

Copy Editing

Copy editing is often viewed as "light editing" and can sometimes be called 'proofreading' for its similar, detailed focus on grammar and punctuation. However, while proofreading is the absolute last line of defense when the manuscript is typeset and prior to publication, copy editing provides another run through to ensure accuracy in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


Copy editing includes:



Proper Grammar Usage:    





They're, their, or there?    

Typos happen.           

En-dashes or em-dashes?

Do the sentences make structural sense?

Not just for the beginning of a sentence.

Line (Substantive) Editing

Line, or substantive, editing is generally considered one step above content editing in that large changes can be made as a whole in order to benefit the manuscript. While content editing looks at the overall big picture of the manuscript, line editing brings us back to the details to ensure that each sentence is polished for clarity, flow, structure, and meaning.


Line editing includes:



Removing Repetition:                      

Active versus Passive Voice:           

Clarity & Flow:                                   




Remove the repetition.   

The manuscript was checked for passive voice.            

Word selection makes all the difference.

Do your facts check out?

Maintain professionalism and keep your reader's attention on the story.



Proofreading concentrates on reviewing a manuscript for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, usually after other methods of editing have already been completed and prior to interior layout and printing.

bottom of page