March 12, 2017

The Editing Process – What to Expect

Evident Ink does three different kinds of edits for authors: the developmental edit, the line edit and the proofread.


Most writers know what a proofread is, so we won’t go into a lot of detail discussing that here. It should be your very last pass–meant to catch those tricky little errors spellcheck won’t (like when you’ve used “where” instead of “wear” or “your” instead of “you’re”). This pass will also catch consistency items, word choice issues, and other last-minute fixes.

Line Editing:

The line edit is our most popular service. This is the pass that catches inconsistencies and errors. (Did you say it was Tuesday? On the page prior it was Thursday…) This is the pass that will flag the overuse of a certain word or character action (does your heroine nod constantly?) We’ll flag abuse of cliches, suggest rephrasing for awkward sentences and point out entire sections that might make sense somewhere else. This is the pass that highlights loose plot threads and flags factual errors you might have overlooked in the frenzy of writing your story.

The line edit is done directly in your manuscript. Your editor will leave comments in the margins and make corrections within the text using tracked changes.

Developmental Editing:

The developmental edit is intended as a comprehensive evaluation of your story’s framework and essential elements. This is the pass that considers the ten-thousand foot view, but also highlights the potential for small improvements. The developmental editor will read your story–usually multiple times. She’ll look for issues in pacing, plot, characterization and structure. The developmental editor isn’t a beta reader, and she shouldn’t be your first reader. She’s the person you turn to when you believe you’ve done literally everything within your power to make your story sing (or when you’re beating your head against a wall because you’re not sure exactly what to do). Having a great developmental editor is like have a plot whisperer in your inner circle–she’ll see things you don’t, and suggest things you haven’t thought of. She will make the bones of your story as strong as they can possibly be.

The developmental editor returns an edit letter to the client–usually 2-5 pages–offering specific things to work on, tighten and improve. The edit letter will provide concrete actionable suggestions for making your story as good as it can be. In some cases, the developmental edit may include a phone call as well. To learn more about this process, check out our story editing page.