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"The mainstream publishing industry knows a thing or two about bringing high-quality books to market  . . . The writer who seeks to mimic that process is the writer who's least likely to garner negative reviews, and the most likely to build fans. That's key because fans won't just buy this book; they'll buy the next book, and the one after that, and the one after that."

Louise Harnby, Editing Fiction at Sentence Level

Sometimes called a structural or content edit, the developmental edit is a "big picture" edit. It is concerned with the bones that make up the book, how they fit together, and whether they work together to create a sound, working narrative. A developmental editor will focus their feedback on narrative structure, point of view, narrative tense, organization, character development, and world-building.

Unlike developmental editing, which is concerned with the narrative as a whole, line editing focuses on the paragraph and sentence level. Through suggestions designed to create stylistic consistency, it seeks to smooth writing and preserve the author's unique voice. Line editing focuses on syntax, word usage, repetition, wordiness, flow, and pacing. 

Copyediting is what most people are thinking of when they think about editing. Copyediting is solely intent on correcting mechanics for clarity and consistency at the sentence level. Mechanics refer to grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation, etc.

*Line editing and copyediting are often combined into one editing stage.

Proofreading is the final stage of editing, and while it is editing, its function is completely different than the other three stages. Proofreading operates at the character level, checking each letter, space, and punctuation mark to ensure internal consistency within the manuscript. Proofreaders also check the formatting of the manuscript so that it is prepared to be a seamless print file for publication.

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