Words have a purpose. They convey meaning and can either send a great message or ruin the entire objective of your work. Most of all, written words remain. They can significantly impact your life, whether you write a book, sell a product, or even apply for a job. All these things have one thing in common: the use of written words with the intent of catching the reader’s eye. It is thus imperative to always have a second glance at any written work, but not just any glimpse. First, let’s look at the different main editing stages. Then, we will dive into the science backing the importance of the second pair of eyes in the process.
Developmental editing is the first essential step towards polished work. Developmental editors will have a macro approach; they will look for the content, themes, characters, continuity, and consistency in a fiction work. If you are writing a nonfiction book, they will look if conclusions make sense compared to your arguments.
The second step is to narrow down the editing by looking at the micro picture.
Copy editing is another stage in the refining phase. Copy editors will make sure there is a proper use of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Depending on the editor, the appellation line editing is subdivided from the copy editing step as the more stylistic edit that will check the flow and optimize your word choice. In contrast, copy editing would be the technical edit focusing on grammatical errors. However, some editors do stylistic and technical editing, so you often find it under a single appellation. Again, make sure to check first with your editor what your needs are.
Then comes the final step; the bridge between your almost-done work and your ready-to-change-the-world work.
Proofreading acts as the final but crucial editing step. Proofreaders will check for consistency, format, and typos that might have slipped through the initial stages. It is the last quality check of your work before it goes out in the world. Proofreaders shouldn’t have to fill in gaps or correct spelling. At best, they should only be the one final trustable person to put an error-free stamp on your work.
From the looks of it, it seems like a ton of work to do again and again, and you might think that you can edit your work by yourself. After all, who knows better than you what you wanted to write in the first place? Well, think again. In the many things that science has taught us to this day, there is evidence that when you are writing, your brain focuses more on the complexity of transcribing your thoughts into written words rather than thinking of the simple process of putting a comma where it belongs. You are also more inclined to understand what you want to mean than an external reader, therefore ignoring the flaws your work may have. In short, in your eyes, it might look perfect and ready to be published, but to the first-time reader, it might seem like the complete opposite. If you are interested in knowing more about the psychology behind this, you can read more about the phenomena here.
So, if you are looking to take your work to the next level, you now understand the importance of investing in a good editor. It will be ten times more rewarding to go through the long editing process and ensure your final work will reach out to your audience. You would not want to publish the raw version and then be ashamed of that typo on page 3 that could have been easily prevented; just like this one:
If you are in the process of initiating the editing part of your work and would like to know more, you can check out the services I offer and book a free consultation with me here.