So what have we been working on in the last month? Ever since we finished the original writing portion of our book back on August 6, 2021, we’ve been busy at work with the editing. When a person edits a book, there are generally three levels of editing that should be done in a specific order as follows.
Developmental editing is the big-picture overview of what you are doing. During this review, it’s important to look at your book as a whole and reread it to make sure everything flows logically. The table of contents should contain enough information that the reader can proceed from Chapters 1 to 2 to 3 to the end in a clear manner.
This is also the time to check for any leaps in logic and misplaced references. For example, if you mention a very important fact towards the middle of your book and it follows along a sequence you’ve built up, you can’t make that reference earlier. If you did, that’s considered a leap in logic because you jumped over important facts and wrote a conclusion instead of an explanation.
Developmental editing is an in-depth review of large concepts and ideas. Entire passages and paragraphs can be moved around to provide a better flow. This is not the time to address grammar, word choice, or punctuation. However, if you see an error, you can fix it, as long as you don’t focus on little things during this review.
Copyediting is also known as line-by-line editing. By the time you get to this stage, you should have already fixed the major ideas in your book and put the paragraphs to flow in the direction you want them to go. All major pieces should be as complete as you need them to be. This is not the stage to add or remove large pieces of information from your book.
It is believed your book should be in its final form by the time you get to stage 2 of editing.
This is the stage that involves checking for all the tiny little parts that make up whole sentences and paragraphs. It’s important to review and correct grammar, word choice, logical conclusions or incomplete thoughts in sentences, misplaced or incorrect punctuation, and proper form, depending on the seriousness of the book and its intended audience.
A person who does copyediting must review the text line by line for grammatical accuracy.
Proofreading is generally the last and simplest form of editing that needs to be done. At the proofreading stage, it is not appropriate to make major changes in the structure of the book and it is probably too late to fix grammatical errors.
A proofreader’s job is simply to look for simple errors. For example, it’s important that there are no missing letters in a word. If the word is “girl” and it appears as “gir” or “grl,” that is a simple error to catch at this stage.
The developmental editing stage is a long process, but it’s also very rewarding because it’s a great way to shape the lumps of words into a beautifully sculpted single book.