What type of editing?

What type of editing do I need? 

There are four basic types of editing:

  • Developmental editing—deals with overall development of content and story
  • Structural editing—deals with the structure of content and story elements
  • Copy-editing—deals with text
  • Proofreading—checks for errors following editing and typesetting

Developmental editing

helps an author develop their book from the initial idea, concept or proposal to a completed draft manuscript. Developmental editing for fiction is often provided as author mentoring. Developmental editing and structural editing can overlap as both deal with content and story elements.

Structural editing 

deals with the content, substance or structure of a manuscript. For fiction, this includes character, plot, pacing, narrative structure and point of view. The structural editor looks at the story and the way it is being told, and aims to match the reader’s experience of the book with the author’s vision. For non-fiction, structural editing looks at a book’s content: the overall order in which the author presents their facts and arguments, and how it presents to the target readership.


deals with the actual text of a book or piece of writing. A copy-editor looks at spelling, grammar, punctuation. They examine flow and clarity in the narrative text. They also check for consistency, repetitions, and stylistic issues. The copy-editor makes the text clear for the reader and line edits to strengthen author voice.


is the final stage of editing. The proofreader looks for errors and corrections from earlier edits, redrafts and revisions and checks the layout and typesetting before the work is released to the public.

There are further details about the work involved in each type of editing on my fiction services pages: Structural and developmental editing and Copy-editing and proofreading.

For a general overview of the editing process in traditional publishing, check out Book Nanny’s blog post: ‘Editors: animal, vegetable or mineral?’ 

To learn more about structural editing and manuscript evaluations, see Book Nanny’s blog posts ‘The Heart of the Matter’ and ‘This wood’d be great …

Contact Book Nanny to discuss the right type of editing for you

Book Nanny Writing and Editing Services © Bernadette Kearns 2018Book Nanny: nursing and nurturing for all your creative writing needs