Thayer Literary Services ~ Book Editing

Types of editing definitions

Manuscript evaluation or critique


A broad overall assessment of your full ms., pinpointing strengths and weaknesses. Specific problem areas may be flagged, and general suggestions for improvement made, but a critique won't usually provide detailed advice on ms. revision.


Content editing (also known as developmental editing or substantive editing)


Focuses on structure, style, and content. The editor reads through the ms. to flag specific problems —structural difficulties, poor pacing, plot or conceptual inconsistencies, stiff dialogue, poorly developed characters, stylistic troubles, flabby writing. The editor him/herself may rewrite the ms. to fix these problems or may provide notations and detailed advice so the author can address them.


Line editing


Editing at the sentence level, focusing on paragraph and sentence structure, word use, dialogue rhythms, etc., with the aim of creating a smooth prose flow.


Copy editing


Correction of common errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation), incorrect usages, logic lapses, continuity problems.


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