Substantive editing is comprehensive and encompasses developmental, structural, and technical aspects of your manuscript. A good substantive edit can encourage you to look at both the big picture (world building, series arc, character development) along with technical details. As part of a substantive edit, I might ask questions about your world building, characterization, and plot logic and coherence, and I might even suggest some rewrites.
During editing I will identify sensitivity or problematic content and suggest revision (i.e. language and depictions that are homophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynistic, abelist, etc.). Sometimes an author might not realize a sensitive issue is unintentionally coming across in a negative or derogatory way. It is not about censoring content or avoiding serious topics, but rather a consideration of tone and representation and a respect for diversity.
The substantive edit includes a global notes document to explain concerns, ask questions, make overall suggestions, and offer solutions for content issues. Once you receive the edited manuscript and global notes document, please feel free to ask questions and let’s discuss. I’ll answer your questions, provide feedback, and help with brainstorming resolutions.
While I recommend two-phase editing for this type of in-depth edit, I offer a single-phase option as well. This edit includes review of story elements (characterization, plot, pacing, tone, logic and coherence, point of view)—basically how well the story works. It also includes looking at consistency, sentence structure concerns, and overall style and technical aspects of writing.
Developmental or macro editing focuses on the overall story concepts (i.e. characters, plot, pacing, world building, point of view, logical flow, themes) and writing.
If you have a draft that feels like something is not working or there are significant content concerns and you would like some overall story feedback, a separate developmental edit might be just what the manuscript needs. Developmental editing can also be beneficial for works in progress.
This type of editing involves notes addressing concerns for the overall story and on a chapter level. Developmental editing might result in significant rewriting and back-and-forth discussion between the author and editor.
I occasionally do stand-alone developmental editing upon request. Sometimes during a substantive edit, significant content concerns might lead to the recommendation for a separate developmental edit to iron out major story elements that require rewriting.
If you have a manuscript that feels problematic or a story in progress that is not working on some level, let’s discuss whether a separate developmental edit might be beneficial.
Copy editing focuses on fixing sentence structure and technical aspects of the manuscript but might include some structural editing and minor content feedback. If your manuscript has had substantive editing or is in good shape (i.e. a repub), it might need just a copy edit.
I usually do copy editing as part of a two-phase substantive edit, where I also provide feedback on your revisions, or for repubs that only need polish and a final pass through the manuscript.