What is copy-editing?

One of the services I offer is copy-editing, but what exactly is that?

I have talked about proofreading on this blog before, but copy-editing (also known as line-editing) is another thing entirely, and it involves looking at your writing in even more depth. A copy-editor can look at all sorts of things, including characterisation (would that character really act like that?), structure (it makes more sense to describe this location before the action happens) and continuity (the car was blue on the first page, now it’s red), and make bigger and more general suggestions to improve your writing (this chapter doesn’t really add anything to the story, perhaps cut it?). A copy-editor brings another level of analysis to your work.

Who could benefit from copy-editing?

No matter who you are or what you’re writing, a second pair of eyes is always helpful, and a professional is even better. Having someone read your work who doesn’t know it as well as you do can be really helpful. Just imagine that you renamed a character halfway through writing. When you’re reading it back the old name won’t necessarily jump out at you, because you know the character was called that before; but for somebody reading it for the first time, a brand new name will stick out like a sore thumb.

What’s copy-editing like?

It’s incredibly satisfying to read through a book or article and spot small mistakes or suggest ways to take the writing from good to great. Ultimately the copy-editor is trying to make the work as immersive to read as possible – we do our best to straighten out confusingly worded sentences and remove elements that jar with the flow of the writing, so your reader can become totally absorbed in your work.

Hopefully this has given you a good idea of what copy-editing is all about, so if you need me to polish your written work for you, do get in touch.

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