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Copyediting is a light form of editing that applies a professional polish to a book. The editor reviews your work, fixing any mechanical errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Copyediting is the least-expensive version of editing.
Line editing is often used interchangeably with the term copyediting. However, when it is distinguished from copyediting, it refers to a unique edit that falls between copyediting and developmental editing in intensity. In line editing, the editor looks at your book line by line and analyzes each sentence. The editor considers word choice and the power and meaning of a sentence. The editor considers syntax and whether a sentence needs to be trimmed or tightened. Line editing helps to makes your prose sing.
The developmental editor looks deeply at the organization and strength of a book. Think big picture. The editor considers everything from pacing to characters, point of view, tense, plot, subplots, and dialogue. Weak links are exposed and questioned. The editor scrutinizes order, flow, and consistency. He asks questions such as: Is this the right number of chapters? Are the chapters and paragraphs in the right order? Are there any places in the book where the pacing lags? Is there a hole in the information or story presented? Are the characters likable? Developmental editing considers all the aspects of a manuscript that make the book readable and enjoyable. Because of the extensive nature of this form of editing, it is more time intensive and costly. However, it is worth the investment if you are serious about succeeding as an author.