Editing Vs Revising

We all are aware of what revising a draft means and what it means to get your manuscript edited, but very few writers really know the real difference between the two. If you’ll ask around, the most common answer is that what we do ourselves is revising and what an editor does is editing. But you see how it doesn’t really answer the question?

As a writer, you can revise as well as edit your manuscript. In fact, as a golden rule of thumb, you should self-edit your manuscript before proceeding with withers hiring a professional editor or going for a professional critique or sending out your manuscript tot he agent or the publisher(s).

And you can do that once you know the difference between editing and revising. So, let’s go ahead and dive in.

Editing

Editing involves changes that polish your manuscript technically by focusing on the following:

  • Paying attention to each and every sentence structure
  • Correcting spelling mistakes & typos
  • Correcting all grammatical errors
  • Checking for composition for the narrative voice
  • Checking the story for consistency issues related to the plot, characterisation, world-building, conflicts, backstories, sub-plots, point-of-views(s), timelines, scenes execution and chapter break-up
  • Fact-checking and researching things to make sure nothing is portrayed wrongly in your book
  • Developing the plot, characterisation, world, conflicts, etc. further if they have not been correctly developed
  • Suggesting structures if the plot has not been structured properly
  • Finding potential plot-holes, inconsistencies in narration and stylistic issues

In editing, the overall story remains the same. Editing focuses on fixing the already revised story and making slight adjustments to its structure to give it that beautiful gleam of a well-polished story that we all crave for, readers and writers alike.

Revising

Revising involves making major changes to your story to refine it mechanically by focusing on the following:

  • Rewriting existing thoughts in a better way
  • Adding new scenes, chapters or bits of text
  • Adding new necessary details
  • Deleting unnecessary details
  • Refining the story flow 
  • Enhancing character development
  • Using better words and phrases
  • Rewriting paragraphs to make them sound better
  • Clarifying and developing ideas
  • Developing the plot further

In revising, the overall story changes, maybe a little or a lot, depending on how aggressively you revise. Revising focuses on rewriting and making major changes to the overall story that makes it a smooth readable version that makes complete sense.

So, it goes without saying that first revisions are done and once the revision process is over, editing is done.

Further Reading: