You have a written piece or manuscript and you require the services of an editor. Should you settle for a manuscript critique, general edit or copy edit? The following might guide your decision and possible outcome(s):
Firstly, manuscript critique is the first level in editing and it assesses your manuscript with a focus on the plot, persons and pacing. It clearly analyzes the following in an editorial memo prepared after assessing your work:
Character Development, Point of view, Perspective, Character Voice, Plot Structure, Theme, Consistency, Weaknesses in the narrative, etc. (Similar approach is applied in other genres, but guided by each genre’s structure).
An editorial memo is the editor’s feedback on your manuscript. In it, you will have a general comment and detailed critique of the manuscript with recommendations on how you can make it better.
Secondly, comprehensive edit is a very detailed editing, also known as general editing, line editing or developmental editing. It might require that you: adjust a plot, further develop a character, rewrite a sentence, check language usage, coherence, cohesion, ambiguity, vagueness, just to mention a few.
Comprehensive edit also ensures that you have an in-depth editorial memo.
Your manuscript is edited line by line to ensure all loose ends are tied. Line editing makes the story/document a flawless and fluid prose. This is about the most detailed part of comprehensive editing; it checks the creative content and writing style at the sentence and paragraph levels. The outcome of line editing should be a clear and smooth-to-read document.
It is better to seek comprehensive edit after a manuscript critique (that is, after considering the recommendations of a manuscript critique).
Copy-editing is usually the last stage of editing, just before you publish. It is highly technical and ensures your work meets the approved standards. General editing and copy-editing sometimes overlap. However, the difference is that nothing escapes copy-edit; copy edit is expected to be extremely thorough. While developmental or general editing might help you rewrite a sentence, re-arrange paragraphs, enrich content and so on, copy-editing ensures your work complies with standard rules guiding genres, style and form. A copy-editor works after a general editor has done his/her part. In other words, a copy-editor works on a manuscript that is truly complete and about to be published.
In conclusion, it is better to go through the three stages of editing for a professional and perfect final piece. However, many people select only general edit, in an attempt to cut cost. If you are still confused about which edit stage you should choose, do not hesitate to contact us.