This most basic level of copyediting focuses primarily on mechanical issues: spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage. I’ll ensure consistency in the treatment of capitalization, numbers, and hyphenation, and I’ll make sure characters names are spelled the same way on page 1 as they are on page 200.
I’ll also keep an eye out for point of view and tense issues, and I’ll point them out to you but not suggest changes. I’ll pay some attention to overall flow and story, but in general, I will be focused on making your manuscript as mechanically sound as possible.
back to the top
At the medium level, I’ll pay more attention to the story than in light editing. In addition to watching for the mechanics, I’ll look for awkward narrative and dialogue and suggest changes where appropriate. If one of your characters is suddenly out of character, I’ll let you know. I’ll also make suggestions for POV and tense issues. If your timeline is a little bumpy, I’ll note it. I’ll point out problems with repetition, word choice, clarity, wordiness, triteness, and flow, and I may make suggestions for those issues.
back to the top
When it comes to fiction editing, this can also be known as line editing or substantive editing. This is the most involved type of copyediting. In addition to everything under light and medium, I’ll fix—where possible—issues of POV, tense, or timeline. I’ll rewrite awkward sentences. I’ll suggest deeper changes (or make them) when it comes to repetition, word choice, clarity, wordiness, triteness, and flow.
At this level, I will also address issues with show vs. tell and plot or character development. If scenes could benefit from being reorganized—or removed—I’ll make changes where possible and make comments about anything
back to the top
Proofreading / cold reading
Proofreading focuses solely on the text and does not take into consideration the story. Proofreading should be the last thing to happen before publication; by the time a proofreader reviews a story, a copy editor has already had her way with it.
I can proofread in two ways:
- As a side-by-side comparison between an edited text and the previous version, making sure all changes suggested in the previous version have been made in the edited text. I’ll also look for typos, problems with punctuation—any errors a reader would notice that weren’t picked up during editing (or may have been introduced between the previous and edited versions).
- As a “cold read.” This is similar to proofreading in that I’m reading a text just before it goes to publication, but in this case, I’m not comparing it to anything else, and I probably haven’t read it before. I’ll focus on looking for typos, problems with punctuation, missing words—any errors a reader would notice. A cold read would work great if your work is already polished and you just want one more pair of eyes to check it over before you publish.
Americanizing can also be known as Americanization, localizing, localization, or Ameri-picking.
Americanizing involves changing foreignisms (often British, Australian, or Canadian) to an American way of saying things. This applies to spelling, phrasing, grammar, and punctuation. Jumpers become sweaters, “went to hospital” becomes “went to the hospital,” and “jewellry” becomes “jewelry.” While changing your spellcheck to American English will pick up on many spelling errors, differences in idiomatic phrasing (and even some grammar and punctuation differences) are best spotted by a human.
Americanizing can be paired with any level of copyedit. I don’t recommend adding it to proofreading services because you’ll want to go through any edits/suggestions to decide whether you like them. Proofreading is the end of the editorial line.
Americanizing can also be a standalone service: if you’ve already gone through a copy editor and made his changes, and you just want to make sure your American narrative, dialogue, and setting come across as authentically American, I will focus on nothing but making those changes (with an eye out, of course, for typos or other egregious errors).
This service can focus on a whole story or it can be tailored to fit your story’s needs. For example, if one of your characters is an American in London, he’ll speak and think in Americanisms while everything around him is British. Or if your German characters spend one chapter in California, maybe that chapter will be the only thing you need checked.
back to the top
A few more things about MB Edits editing
No matter the level or type of editing, I always preserve your voice and style. This is your story, your book—I just want to help you make it the best it can be.
All copyediting is done using Track Changes in Microsoft Word, so you can reject any edit you don’t love. I insert comments (queries) where I have questions, and in situations where I find myself pondering a major change, I consult with you first.
In addition, for any work I edit, I create a style sheet that lists characters (their names, appearances, family members, etc.), dates, places, and anything else that could possibly be inconsistent from one page to the next. I give this to you at the end, for your own reference and so you can see what editorial choices and considerations I made along the way.
All of the above can be negotiated and tailored to your specific needs on a per-project basis.