In order to understand the scope of the editorial work required on any given project, it is valuable to review some industry definitions. I am a member of the Institute of Professional Editors here in Australia (IPed), the industry body responsible for advancing the profession of editing. In the institute’s publication, Australian standards for editing practice, 2nd edition, the role of an editor is described as follows:
‘The goal of editors, regardless of their role or the type of publication, is to ensure that the material is consistent and correct, and that its content, language, style and layout suit its purpose and meet the needs of its audience.’ (page ix)
Furthermore, the fundamentals of editing are described as follows:
‘Editing involves carefully reviewing material before it is published, and suggesting or making changes to correct and improve it.’
Then three aspects to editing are recognised:
- ‘Substantive editing (including, and sometimes called, structural editing) is assessing and shaping material to improve its organisation and content. It is editing to clarify meaning, improve flow and smooth language.
- Copyediting is editing to ensure consistency, accuracy and completeness.
- Proofreading is examining material after layout to correct errors in textual and visual elements.’ (page viii)
In carrying on my business, it is my goal to maintain editing standards upheld by IPed. The services I offer fall under the category of substantive or structural editing.
I’d like to tell a short story now to help illustrate the role an editor can play in the writing process and how I’d like to help my customers in my business.