Different types of editing: developmental

When you get into editing, you realize that there’s so many different types of editing.

You can’t just say you’re an editor. Are you a developmental editor? Or line editor? Do you want to edit medical books or sci fi novels? An editor has to be as specific as possible to advertise themselves.

The first step though is learning the different types of editing. Here’s the thing:

Developmental Editor:

The editor evaluates the document as a whole, meaning the editor focuses on:

  • coherence
  • consistency
  • organization
  • structure

They act like motivational coaches and sometimes ghost write.

Note: “Developmental editor” is often used interchangeably with “substantive editor” and “content editor”.

Line Editor:

This type of editor gets confused with copy editor since the two are similar. From what I have researched, a line editor sees the manuscript before the copy editor. They also comb through smaller details such as:

  • consistency
  • grammar
  • language
  • punctuation
  • spelling
  • word usage

They will analyze every sentence, line by line.

Copy Editor:

These editors are sometimes the last people to look at the document. They will read the whole story twice, checking for the last errors including:

  • grammar
  • jargon
  • style
  • repetition
  • word usage


A proofreader corrects minor mistakes within a document. This includes different types of errors, including grammar and punctuation.

2 thoughts on “Different types of editing: developmental

  1. Interesting! I bet a lot of people don’t know there are different kinds of editors. Even I didn’t know the exact differences, so thanks for this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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