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What Is Copyediting?

Copyediting (or copy editing, depending on what style guide is used) is typically what people think of when it comes to editing. Checking for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation is typically what this editing entail. However, there’s so much more to it.

Who Are You Writing For?

The first thing we need to consider is the type of document are you writing and who is going to read it. Why is this important? Because editing an academic research paper is very different from editing a paranormal romance novel. Everything must be considered, from the language and word usage to where commas are placed. These all depend on what style guide is used.

What is a style guide?

A style guide is a book or in-house document of how spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., are going to be handled. In fiction, we use the Chicago Manual of Style to help correct manuscripts. Does your character have brownish-red hair or brownish red hair? Were there 100 people in the store, or where there one hundred people in the store? The Chicago Manual of Style will help figure that out. Sometimes, an author might want to break the rules of the Chicago Manual, and that’s okay, as long as it’s consistent in the manuscript.

Aside from the manual, editors typically build a style sheet for clients to ensure that all character names and places are spelled consistently. This style sheet will help the proofreader pick out any errors that might have been missed in the copyediting stage (and there will be a few errors, we’re only human). A copyeditor will also help pick out any inconsistencies or plot holes in the story that might have been missed in the developmental edit stage (though this is not the primary work).

If you think your manuscript is ready for a copyedit, get in touch with me! I offer a complimentary edit of 1,000 words.

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