In my previous post, I talked about the first stage of editing which focuses on improving the overall structure and content of written work. Today, let me tell you about copy editing.
This stage focuses on editing at the sentence-level, eradicating errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and usage. An editor will also correct issues in sentence structure and address consistency issues such as tense and spelling conventions.
Editors should have certain tools at their disposal during this stage, such a style sheet and a spelling sheet, where they can easily record words and names with unique or variable spelling and other stylistic preferences. Of course, they should also have a dictionary (or online subscription to one) handy, and a thesaurus never goes astray. Depending on the type of writing, an editor might also need a referencing guide or a specialised dictionary for a specific subject.
The author is usually not involved in this stage of editing unless the editor requires clarification.
It’s important to note that when the work is being edited for publication, copy editing is the last chance to ensure everything is correct before it goes to the designer. Once the writing has been placed into a design file, it becomes harder to make changes. In other words, copy editing must be completed thoroughly to avoid potential problems later on.