Substantive Content/Line

You've come up with a great idea and have written a rough draft of a novel, short story, article, or poetry collection.  You know the manuscript still needs a lot of shaping up, but you're not sure where to take it next.  Or maybe you do have a good idea of where you're going with it, but you could use some sound feedback and help to make your content more solid.


You are open to commentary and collaborative input, and are not as interested in detailed revision and copyediting right now as you are in nailing down the tonality and key elements of your manuscript.  You want help focusing on character development and plot sequencing in your novel, or advisement on structural coherence for an article, or thematic ordering for your poetry collection.     


You've written a couple of drafts and you're so close to your manuscript that you're not really seeing the words anymore.  It reads well, or at least it reads to you the way you think it should read.  It's definitely time to get a pair of trained eyes on it. 


The manuscript could use more smoothing and revision before being copyedited.  You're probably missing things here and there, like paragraphs that don't exactly parse, or Minnie's name became Esmerelda in chapter six — about the same time you switched the narrative voice from third-person to first-person. 

You could use another perspective; you realize that some of your creative brainstorms may need futher brewing, while others need to be shuttered out.  You are open to in-depth editorial suggestions and are willing to revise to create better comprehension and flow for readers. 


Like most authors, you need a combination of content/line editing and copyediting, also known as substantive copyediting, or heavy copyediting.  Invariably, there will be sections of your manuscript that could use more help than others.  While attending to the minor technical details, copyediting will draw attention to larger passages that may need substantial revision.  Yet it's line and content editing that include specific and sometimes involved suggestions for alternative solutions. 


Copyediting makes corrections based on an established style and punctuation guide, often without much explanation to the author.  Substantive-content editing offers thoughtful responses to specific issues within the writing itself and opens creative dialog between the editor and author.


You want the full advantages of a combined and thorough approach to editing your manuscript.  It's important to you to get the most feedback for your money.  You want to know that your editor has read and considered your work closely — and it will show in your final manuscript draft. 


Your story or collected body of works is solid and now needs a final tightening and polish before being proofread and sent to a publisher or agent.  You want every word to shine brightly.  That's why you need someone to discover the page where you repeat "truncated" and "I think that" five times each.  Qualifiers, such as "very," should be eradicated, and passive language, as well as the long way round each expression, will be reworded or shortened.  Abstractions will be traded for concrete words.  Lazy verbs may be ousted for robust ones.  Punctuation and style choices will need to be made consistent throughout.  Misspellings and awkward grammatical constructions will be corrected. 


You're smitten with your nearly finished book or article draft, but you're ready to take a step back, set aside your emotional attachments for a while, and attend to the business of stylistic and technical details.



Which editing package is right for your manuscript?


If you know what sort of editing help you need, you know what type to contract for right now.  Skip to the Rates Page.  If you're new to working with an editor, though, or just not sure what shape your manuscript is really in, you can read more about the types of editing I provide based on your manuscript's needs.