Substantive editing improves the overall quality of your writing by making sure it is not only technically correct, but also lucid and effective for your purposes. It addresses things like:
- overall organization/structure
- paragraph structure and transitions
- introduction and conclusion
- sentence structure, word choice, and phrasing
- consistency and appropriateness of tone, pace, and style
- the use of clichés and jargon, awkward or ambiguous language, repetition, and verbosity
- accuracy of technical terms (spelling and usage)
- accuracy and consistency of labels and references to charts, tables, or figures
- adherence to formal style rules and citation formats (based on the style you specify or that we agree upon, such as Chicago, AP, or your “house-style”)
For this task I will work closely with you to make your communication is clear, concise, rational, and compelling – while staying true to your own style and voice. This means fully understanding your sensibility, your message, your purpose, and your target audience. I will ask lots of questions, take extensive notes, and give you explanations for many of the changes I recommend.
A few additional notes on substantive editing.
- Most people seeking professional editing help need some level of substantive editing.
- If English is not among your native or primary languages, you almost certainly need some substantive editing.
- If “writing is not your forte,” you definitely need a substantive edit.
- Professional writers need substantive editing too! They sometimes do it themselves, but very often someone else has a strong editing hand. Either way, they do need the edit, especially on the first draft.
- The extent of editing needed varies greatly from project to project, so I usually provide a customized plan and pricing for this service.