What Does an Editor Do?

What Does an Editor Do?Although the editing stage is one of the most important prior to publishing, often, it may be a bit unclear what an editor actually does.

You may remember movie scenes of the harried and coffee-wielding editor, sitting behind a computer screen, frantically marking up page after page with countless red marks. Or the red pen.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Editors often work quietly behind the scenes, in close collaboration with the author in an effort to create the best possible text.

Gone is the overbearing editor stereotype; instead, helpful suggestions, comments, and queries will help shape your lovingly constructed work into its best possible form.

Often, editors have a background in a variety of academic fields, including literature, communications, creative writing, as well as more technical fields for certain specialized editing, such as STEM, law, or business. Many editors have also completed various professional development programs, certificates, diplomas, and workshops in editing, publishing, as well as other specialized skills.

Above all, editors are admirers of language.

The editing process is also divided into several stages, often beginning with structural editing, before progressing to stylistic editing, copy editing, before finally finishing in the proofreading stage.


Structural Editing Stage
  • The structural editing stage, also called substantive editing, involves assistance in the document’s structure.


Stylistic Editing Stage
  • The stylistic editing stage also known as line editing, focuses on the clarity, meaning, language, and flow of the text.


Copy Editing Stage
  • The copy editing stage focuses on improving grammar, spelling, consistency, and readability.


Proofreading Stage
  • Finally, the proofreading stage focuses on reviewing the document in its final stage, following a thorough copy edit. 
  • This stage includes both text and design elements. It focuses on flagging typos, minor grammatical issues, punctuation, and capitalization.


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