Copy editing makes sure your manuscript is standing on a strong foundation. A copy editor will make sure your prose is efficient in conveying the story you are trying to tell. They also check the manuscript for clarity, flow, timeline issues, and basic fact checking. Copy editing and line editing usually go hand and hand, but it’s important to know the difference between the two.
Copy editing includes:
- Sentence clarity/structure
- Word choice/repetition
- Consistency and Continuity
- Style (grammar and syntax)
Here's a list of questions a copy editor asks during the editing process:
- Are there sentences or paragraphs that read awkwardly?
- Does the author make smooth transitions from one paragraph/scene to the next?
- Does the prose seem stiff, and, if so, how can it be improved?
- Are sentence lengths and structures varied?
- Are paragraph breaks appropriate and effective?
- Do chapters begin and end with effective prose?
- Is the dialogue active and believable?
- Are appropriate punctuation conventions observed?
- Are dialogue tags appropriate and useful? Can the reader tell who the speaker is?