What is Content Editing? (Developmental/Substantive/Structural)
Content editing is also called developmental, structural, and substantive editing.
Basically, it is the stylistic review of your manuscript. This “style” refers to both literature and research. (However, technical editing is obviously always performed by a qualified academic content editor familiar with your formal style guide.)
Content editing polishes your use of language while maintaining your voice. Your professional content editor ensures that your text makes sense, presents cohesively, and maintains a believable proposal, defense, dialogue, and/or plot line.
In research and professional writing, content editing ensures that your writing style, statements, and presentation support your message and its overall purpose or intent.
Premium content editing is genuinely the big-picture approach to publishing. Your professional content editor reworks your writing to ensure the narrative flows smoothly while every word positively contributes to the manuscript’s purpose.
Most importantly, with content editing you receive in-depth personal and professional editorial comments throughout your manuscript which advance your writing skills for future projects. Many authors value this neutral feedback from a hired professional as it is often this insight they desire most.
Content editing ensures you effectively use your language to tell your story as a fiction author and persuasively convey your message as a nonfiction authority. As a researcher, it ensures you are fully representing your proposal while supporting your statements solidly and accurately.
Content editing is the most critical step in publishing and recommended after your initial draft. It is ideal from the beginning.
Your professional content editor takes an important high-level approach to your writing style, creative content, presentation of facts, organization of support, approach to subject, and use of English language. It’s the big picture of your document.
Do I Need a Content Edit?
Content editing looks at the big picture and asks, “What is your story/message/purpose?”
Premium content editing is also known as structural editing, substantive editing, and developmental editing. Thus, content editing is comprehensive.
Content editing is a combination of a stylistic editing approach and professional copy edit. This includes the basics of copy editing plus all the tricky details of line editing while approaching your writing from a more holistic perspective and purpose.
However, content editing goes much further than line editing by polishing and perfecting your manuscript’s message as a whole.
Content editing transforms good writers into published authors recognized within their field and genre.
This substantive editing is the most in-depth and detailed editing level available. Thus, content editing is considered the premium standard in today’s industry.
Developmental content editing is the writing industry’s most comprehensive standard which evaluates the overall structure and organization of your writing.
With a structural edit, your document is inspected and corrected for internal discrepancies and inconsistencies. Therefore, it often includes some minor rewriting and polishing.
Any extremely difficult passages within your manuscript that cause concern will be highlighted and given in-depth feedback. These personal corrections enable you, as the author, to make the most appropriate revisions and rewrites as you choose.
Thus, your professional developmental content editor provides comments throughout your manuscript so that you can adapt the overall presentation according to the feedback given.
Content editing ensures your writing is free of embarrassing mistakes, anomalies, or ambiguities. Therefore, your professional content editor is your go-to partner who helps you maintain a professional appearance and reputation as a writer, academic, or professional.
When Do I Need Content Editing?
Content editing is your ideal choice upon completing your manuscript’s first draft when you desire honest feedback and thorough professional guidance. Choose substantive content editing prior to peer review or public distribution as it is comprehensive
Content editing is also highly recommended for first-time authors and non-native English writers.
Most importantly, developmental content editing is NECESSARY for manuscripts requiring extensive corrections of English grammar, clarity, or comprehension.
What is a Professional Content Editor?
Your professional content editor reviews in-depth every word, thought, idea, statement, detail, and reference to ensure that it is contributing positively to your document’s entire presentation and purpose.
A structural content editor provides the most in-depth and detailed editing level available. Thus, content editing is considered the premium standard in today’s industry.
In short, comprehensive developmental content editors transform everyday writers into published authors.
Some areas that a fiction and nonfiction content editor will address include:
- Dialogue or paragraphs that can be tightened
- Passages that don’t read well due to bland language use
- Confusing narrative digressions
- Changes that can be made to improve the pacing of a passage
Substantive content editors for academic research and technical writing may address issues such as:
- Statements which need support or elaboration
- Defining clarity of purpose for information presented
- Polishing the use of English language for a more natural read
- Inserting transitional phrases for flow and progression
- Reducing and simplifying word choices
Additionally, content editors follow the formal style guides necessary for your writing, genre, professional field, organization, university, industry, or journal.
A professional content editor approaches your project from a high-level perspective. They will review, inspect, dissect, and replace passages according to your document’s purposes and goals.
If you are a fiction writer and have an ongoing dialogue or plotline, your editor checks to make sure it is plausible and believable.
If you are a nonfiction writer with strong statements or facts, your content editor ensures that the information clearly states and strongly supports your manuscript’s proposal.
Research with extensive technical details requires consistency in presentation with support statements, facts, and references throughout your study. Your content editor will ensure that these are all presented clearly and effectively within the English language.
Regardless, a professional content editor ensures a flow within all documents that provides quality and consistency to your writing style, its subject, and the surrounding details.
A structural content editor insists that you are delivering the best quality product possible.
Content editing is ideal for all fiction, nonfiction, and academic authors including marketing, advertising, website ad-copy, instructional manuals, books, academic writing, research, and much more.
Not sure what type of editing YOU need? Find out with a free professional editing sample and a recommendation from a professional content editor.
If you’re ready to get started with content editing, click here.