Written by A Guest Author

5 Types of Editing That May Help Your Manuscript

By Zenstateofmind 

Editing is part of the writing process. It is something every writer must do in order to polish their work and help readers connect with the stories they are telling.

Editing takes many forms, some focusing on the story on the sentence level, and others from an overarching structural level. Below I break down editing into 5 common categories. When editing one’s own work it is easier to edit each draft while focusing on one approach, although Structural and Developmental editing are sometimes combined.

  1. Structural editing
    In this type of editing, you try to figure out how to split your chapters, how to arrange your scenes, which one should come before the other, when and where your plot twists should come in. Structural editing also helps you with plot and characters – their age, their behavior, their location, motivations, and what their problems are. To learn more about structural editing, go here.
  2. Developmental editing
    Has a lot of crossover with structural editing. Some authors consider them to be the same thing. Others do not. In developmental editing you look at each element of your story, which part works which one should be removed or improved.
  3. Line editing
    This type of editing focuses more on prose and sentence structure. It’s about maintaining your writing style (your voice, sense of humor, your tone, imagery etc.) while tightening and clarifying your sentences. Line editing ensures the free flow of your creativity, how smooth your story is, from your tenses to your word choices.
  4. Copy editing
    This focuses more on the writing itself. How readable is your story? In this type, you look out for errors and try to align everything properly. Copy editing is all about clarity, spell check, grammar, removing repetitions, punctuation, and so on.
  5. Proof reading
    This is the final type of editing process. Here you read through the writing and do a thorough error check making sure everything is accurate and in place. Friends can help you with this step, because the work should already be really polished at this point, and a fresh pair (or pairs) of eyes, can really help at this point.

Notwithstanding, it is advisable to hire a professional editor for your manuscript, they will help you cover the areas you are struggling with more in your story (could be just the one of the kinds of editing, like copy editing).

We all have blind spots and we can’t possibly see through everything. It’s always good to have someone more experienced go through the work for the sake of effectiveness.

Although for editing types 3-5 above, the apps listed in this article, some free, some not, can really make a difference.


Zenstateofmind is a freelance creative writer who contributes to magazines, websites and blogs. She also offers ghost writing services for private clients seeking help with their novels. She resides in Nigeria. In her spare time, Zen shares stories and writing tips on her blog

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