About Dorsch Editorial
Types of Editing
It includes one read-through of the entire manuscript. I prepare two to six pages of written comment on substantive issues, noting strengths and weaknesses and offering suggestions for improvement. I do a copyedit of part of a chapter to give an idea of the type of copyediting details the writer needs to give attention to.
A critique deals with such aspects as structure, organization, substantiation, research, gaps in logic, repetition, flow, suitability to audience, clarity, plot, dialogue, characterization, description, setting, point of view, chronology, pace, etc. Those aspects vary, of course, according to whether the manuscript is fiction or non-fiction.
A critique is an overview to give the author an idea of whether the manuscript is essentially ready for publication or needs significant revision, and whether the revisions are such that the author could handle them or a professional edit would be advisable.
Substantive editing covers much the same "big picture" issues as a critique, but it gets into serious, focused work on revision in consultation with the author. The nature of this consultation varies from author to author. Some of the ways it has worked:
- Including this fake list item fixes a known layout bug in IE6
- I send lots of e-mails asking for clarification or further information on specific areas, then I revise according to the responses.
- One author likes me to do most of the revision myself without bothering him with a lot of queries. With the revised manuscript I send along a separate file of queries noting things that need his attention – things I couldn't address without his input.
- One author has difficulty with flow and outline. I take her paragraphs and chapters, organize them into a logical order and create an outline for the book.
- In one biographical book I asked the author lots of questions about physical details of the people and situations he wrote about. Then I fleshed out the narrative with descriptive bits here and there that created scenes in the reader's mind.
I do substantive editing only on screen, not on hard copy. If a manuscript requires a substantive edit, that should be done before a copyedit.
Copyediting tackles the manuscript line by line, paying attention to the small details: grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, passive voice, word choice, consistency of detail, spelling, consistency of style, clarity, etc.
As I work through the manuscript I prepare a style sheet, which keeps track of such stylistic decisions as whether the author prefers to use serial commas, capitalize pronouns for deity, etc. so that I can be sure to be consistent. I usually perform at least two passes through the manuscript.
I copyedit on screen, not on hard copy. Using the "track changes" function gives the author a ready view of the changes. In notes I can provide as little or as much explanation of my changes as the author desires.
Proofreading is the final editorial task performed on a publication before printing. It is done on the pages after layout, when they are ready to go to press. Because this is a final stage and an editorial change can cause a ripple effect throughout the flow of the document, proofreading looks only for right/wrong details (e.g. misspellings, page numbers out of order, etc.), not for things that simply could be improved (e.g. using a stronger verb, clarifying an ambiguous phrase).
Proofreading focuses on two types of problems:
a) details that have been missed in the editing stages, such as spelling, punctuation, stylistic and serious grammatical errors
b) glitches that have been introduced during layout, such as errors in headers/footers, page numbers, widows/orphans, bad hyphen breaks at line ends, etc.