This is the big picture editing that is often viewed as the revision. Read more on that in my previous post, here.
Line editing focuses at the sentence levels. It looks at the authenticity or phrasing of words as they pertain to characters. For example, would your character really curse, or would they use a “cleaner” curse word. Base your word choices off the character and not what you think is best. It’s hard to see that difference sometimes, but I must accept that none of my characters will ever naturally say some things I do. Ensure your point of view and narrative style remain consistent. While there are many novels with Third-Person Omniscient narrators, it takes a certain finesse to “head hopping”. If done right, you can show one character’s reaction right after another. However, if done incorrectly, you’ll confuse and frustrate your reader. When you attempt stories like this take, the first chapter to someone who knows little of the story and see if it makes sense. As always, if you’re going to use clichés and awkward metaphors, ensure they fit the story, character, and tone. This includes theme clichés such as “the chosen one” or “the love triangle.” While these are tried-and-true approaches, sometimes writers fall into the ruts of those who came before. (I’m sure the “ruts in the road” is another overused cliché and yet I’ll still use it to get the image across.)
Copyediting is what most people think of when they hear editing. One thing I’ve changed in my WIP is the Chapter Sequencing. Sometimes your story may have a slow start because you start too early, with a weaker perspective, or a point of view that doesn’t focus on the main character of your story. Then you route out the nasty grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation errors. Make your pages bleed, as necessary, or have it professionally done. Either way, you’ll be amazed by what you notice with each read through. Don’t forget to check your formatting for page spacing, indentation, paragraph separation, and page breaks (if you’re using them.)
Proofreading is your final quality check. This is your last line of defense before it reaches publication. Find a proofreader you trust to find all of your typos, wrong words, or improper punctuation that any copyeditor might have missed. It’s often better to have them read a proofs copy, or page proofs, to let your proofreader get the closest experience to an actual reader. If you’re self-editing, then take it to the most nitpicky person you know. Proofreaders search for typos, spelling consistency, punctuation, grammar, but also layout issues, missing page numbers, and anything else about the appearance that might cause an issue with your readers.