The Editing Stage: Everything You Need to Know

This editing stage is an important part of the writing stage, where grammar is cross-checked, and all the necessary formatting is done. Editing helps improve a draft by correcting its errors, getting rid of the clutter or clichés, getting the flow right, and making the sentences and words more precise and clearer. All these make the draft cleaner and more engaging.

Though the different stages of editing are often called by different names, they can be broadly classified under these four types:

·         Structural editing: Also called ‘developmental editing,’ it looks at the overall presentation of the copy. A structural edit involves paying attention to how the narrative is put together in terms of clarity of message and reader engagement. It also examines the content and analyzes its overall flow. Among other aspects, the editor focuses on the setting and voice, development of content, and consistency. Suggestions at this stage may be as large as adding and cutting entire chunks of content, and moving and reworking the material, or small and subtle changes like rewriting a section from the third person to the first person or changing the order of a few paragraphs to improve the flow of the content.

·         Copy editing: While structural editing looks at the content as a whole, copy editing focuses on the paragraphs and sentences. In other words, copy editing emphasizes grammatical correctness. Thus, it should ideally be done once the structural elements of a piece of content have been fixed. Copy editing dwells on the inconsistencies regarding the grammatical elements put forward in the text, wording and phrasing issues, and tonal errors that may negatively affect the sequence of events and decrease their readability.

·         Proofreading: The focus here is on grammar, spelling, typos, punctuation, and consistency. Once can call proofreading a more precise version of spell-check. An editor who conducts proofreading will correct all spellings, punctuations, and grammatical mistakes in the text. Proofreading also involves the correction of all typos and inconsistencies that may have been overlooked by the writer. 

·         Fact-checking: This involves checking the facts to ensure what’s written is true and has really happened. An editor will typically check the dates, times, names, titles, digits (especially phone numbers), and words with odd spellings. Ensuring the numbers used in the text are correct and logical (such as salaries, crowd estimates, etc.) and the calculations and other mathematical aspects are accurate are other things the editor will focus on.

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