“It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C.J. Cherryh While editing sounds like and easy task, it too has many level to pass. These descending levels of editing are – substantive chunk editing, paragraph-level editing, sentence-level editing and word-level editing. At Stylus Solutions, our language editors play with words at the syllabic level and brainstorm over commas and full stops. Here’s a bird-eye view on how they do it…
Substantive Chunk Editing
This is the first highest level of editing. In this kind of editing, large pieces of text are moved around and possibly cut. The editor has to do a significant level of editing to re-structure content again if he/she notices troubled spots, gaps in information, lack of flow or transition or sections where the purpose is lost. It becomes necessary for the editor to address these issues, but how? The best solution is to print out difficult parts of the material and scan through it at a glance to get a gist of the level of editing required. Then go back to your electronic document and start cuting and re-assembling those parts of the textual material until all the pieces come together more naturally and in the form of story. When information is told as a story, it serves the reader as well as the writer. When choosing to do a significant level of editing on a piece of work, the editor should arrange enough time to do a good job at it. This level of editing is expensive but the fruits of its labour are very sweet.
This is the second highest form of editing. It is also referred to as line editing. Just like substantive editing, line editing too looks for clarity and flow in its content. In this kind of editing too, the editor moves around or cuts sentences with the purpose of clarifying the meaning of each sentence and ensuring that a single idea represents a single sentence. Line editing is useful if there are multiple ideas in a single sentence, the written text has a lot of adjectives, the vocabulary isn’t comprehensible or the meaning is lost in too many jargons. At this level too, the editor ensures that all the sentences written, add rhythm and pulse to the writer’s overall content.
This is the third highest form of editing. It is also referred to as copyediting. At this level, the editor addresses issues in grammar, spelling, usage or consistency. Often authors can lose track of these smaller details in writing or while making revisions to text. That is why copyeditors are hired to perform a thorough quality control check on grammar, spellings, punctuation, usage, internal logical errors, glaring errors, use of italics/bold and consistency. Before editing, copyeditors should make sure they have identified issues they can confidently fix and ones they would like to get checked by an editor of a higher level.