Types of Manuscript Editing

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Book Planning

Developmental Editing

Substantive Editing

Copy Editing, or Line Editing


Plan before you write your book, and save time and money later. LZES has the resources you need to carefully articulate the focus of your non-fiction book, outline it, organize your materials and get started. If you’re writing fiction, contact LZES for a variety of materials to plan your plot, characters, conflicts and resolutions, for example, or specific tips on how to choose a title or character name.

If this is your first book, consider using a customizable Book Plan from LZES. Packed with information, tips and links to helpful resources, your detailed Book Plan will help you successfully write, publish and market your book. Fill in dates, costs, resources and key milestones so you stay on track!


Developmental editing is best suited for a manuscript in its early stages or after a first draft is complete. If your manuscript needs this type of editing, you can expect knowledgeable, do-able solutions from LZES for such issues as these:


  • Scope of information to be covered
  • Relevance for target audience
  • Overall organization of materials presented
  • Tone and style (e.g., educational, anecdotal, conversation vs. formal style)
  • Target audience’s preferences and expectations for reading, locating and purchasing the book


  • Narrative mode choice
  • Plot viability
  • Character development (goals, motivations and conflicts)
  • Resolution of plot and character conflicts


Most manuscripts benefit from substantive editing.  LZES reviews manuscripts in Microsoft Word and uses the Comments tool to make specific recommendations; she often includes a sample rewrite. Some authors choose to handle rewrites on their own; others request LZES complete them.

Substantive editing includes work on these aspects of a manuscript:


  • Organization; scope; content consistency
  • Readability, in terms of text “density,” effective use of subheads, paragraphing, icons, etc.
  • Use of visual elements, i.e., charts, graphs, photographs, illustrations

Click here to see an example.


  • Story structure; transitions; point of view issues
  • Plot points; pacing
  • Character credibility
  • Consistency; story flow
  • Overall readability

Click here to see an example.


Copy editing is the necessary icing on your tasty cake. Dessert-lovers expect cakes to be frosted; few people enjoy “naked” cake. Just as your creation won't be well-received if it lacks frosting, your manuscript won’t get very far until it’s been copy edited.

LZES uses Microsoft Word’s Track Changes tool to fix the writing mechanics issues that careful copy editing uncovers. For all types of writing, copy editing typically includes:

  • Grammar; spelling; sentence structure; punctuation
  • Word choice and variety; overused words
  • Active vs. passive voice

Click here to see an example of recommended copy editing changes.

Click here to see the same text after the author "accepts" the recommended Track Changes.


You wouldn’t serve soup without sampling it, would you? Or fix something but never turn it on to see how it runs? Nope, you wouldn’t. And you wouldn’t send your manuscript on to its next step until an expert set of experienced eyes proofreads it.

Proofreading involves more than simply reading the manuscript. Editors use several techniques to find typos, missing words and other bizarre things that may have been in the manuscript all along or, more likely, occurred during a revision. LZES proofreads at every editing stage, including a final round focused solely on proofreading.

Additionally, LZES will proofread the manuscript after the interior layout is complete, and/or after the printer’s galleys are available. Often at no extra charge, and within 24 to 48 hours.

Click here to see what clients and colleagues say about LZES.