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  • Writer's pictureKatie Knightley

The Types of Edits

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

So, you've written your first draft, now what? Now you begin the intensive process of making it shine. Whether for self-editing, or knowing who to hire if you're self-publishing, you need to know the types of edits.

Authors typically go in this order: Developmental Edits, Line Edits, Copy Edits, Proofreading. With multiple rounds of developmental and line edits depending on feedback and need.

Developmental Edits

These are your big picture edits. This is where you'll find plot holes, character inconsistencies, 2D characters, structure, setting, world building, missing or weak plot points, not enough tension, pacing, and where you'll figure out if it's told in the right POV and tense. You'll be checking that everything moves the plot. You'll focus on if you're starting in the right place, if your hook is strong, and if your word count is where it needs to be. You'll decide if you need to delete, combine, or add another character.

This is the (re)brainstorm stage where you'll likely create a new outline.

Critique Partners and Beta Readers are great for this level of edits as well. You may need to do developmental edits after each round of feedback.

Line Edits

I like to think of these as immersion edits. In this phase you'll be correcting your filter words, passive voice, show don't tell, descriptions, adverbs, etc. This is where you'll cut or add words, move scenes, chapters, etc. You're tightening your manuscript to the necessary scenes and words, and you're showing your voice.

Some Critique Partners help with Line Edits as well & they'll be your favorites.

Copy Edits

This delves into grammar, tense, style, repetition, word usage, etc.

^If self-publishing, you NEED to hire an editor for this.


The final edit. Minor errors like punctuation are caught and fixed.

^If self-publishing, it's a good idea to hire an editor for this. Friends who are great at proofreading are helpful too.


After your Developmental and Line Edits you'll want to have a Critique Partner (or 2) read through it and give their suggestions and thoughts. You'll likely want Beta Readers too.


For more helpful tips, check out my YouTube Channel. And get member access, freebies, and updates by signing up for my newsletter! By signing up you'll get access to my Critique Partner Checklist template & we'll go through what feedback to give your CP and how to handle your own self-edits.


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