The main types of editing are proofreading and copywriting. Proofreading is the process of checking your copy, or your author’s original manuscript, for mistakes and for possible plagiarism. This is called proofreading by word-for-word. Copywriting (which is an edit of all elements related to the copy—from title to author’s name) involves editing and revising the copy and its content to improve it and to help you to communicate your message effectively. You don’t actually edit a manuscript, but you edit the book’s style and content, making it clearer and more compelling to the reader.
The first four of these types of editing will be covered in a subsequent lesson, but let’s first look at what they are. What we’ll do in the next lesson will help you understand which steps you’ll need to take before you start to edit.
Proofreading is one of the most important parts of the editing process. Because we need to see your words to know if they are plagiarism, we don’t have complete control over everything that makes it into the book. We have very good control over the things that will be in your book, but we lack control over the things that are not in your book. You cannot edit yourself. Proofreading will help us determine whether the words in your text could be used in a similar manner without the author’s permission or whether they should be omitted in some way.
So, first, we need to look at the book from one perspective: to see if we really need the words in question to convey the idea which you are trying to present. We often need words which are very specific and specific contexts don’t need general words.
For example, a well-written novel should not refer to the concept of “spiders” on a white board but rather to the concept of “squeaky wheels”. Words about spider-like phenomena should be avoided because they may imply a connection to a specific type of situation that has been dealt with before.
Some types of books require you to present a specific idea about a topic in which the word is common. For example, the book The Hobbit must state that Gandalf is “a good friend for any Hobbit who has lost his head”. You may see many of these type of words in your work but only select a few that will be especially relevant to the concept. The same kind of common words cannot be used in a book for which there is no specific and specific context.
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