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by Alec Clayton

There are many different types of editing with a lot of overlap between types. If you search online you’ll discover that every professional editor has his or her own definition of developmental editing, copy editing, proof reading, line editing, substantive editing (sort of the same thing as developmental editing). And then there sub-categories of these such as heavy and light copy editing and fact checking. Generally speaking, developmental editing leans more toward structure and helping the writer find the right tone and the best possible flow of words, and copy editing focuses more on grammar and spelling.

Your editing needs may also vary depending on whether you are doing a self-published book or preparing a manuscript to submit to an agent or publisher and on what type of publication you’re writing for. For example, many online publications are more lax in style requirements and more casual in tone than print publications or academic journals. Most newspapers insist on using the AP Stylebook, while books and magazines often prefer using the Chicago Manual of Style. We are experienced in all of these, and we like to tailor our editing services to the writer’s needs. We suggest a consultation before getting started so that we know exactly what you need from us.

We learned writing and editing through on-the-job training. I started out editing an alternative weekly newspaper in New York City from1973 to 1977. Gabi wrote and did proof reading for the same newspaper. In ’77 we moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi where we published first a weekly newspaper and then a monthly city magazine and finally a statewide literary, arts and entertainment magazine from 1977 to 1985. I have been an arts writer and editor for Swarner Communications, publishers of the Weekly Volcano, the Ranger and Northwest Military.com since 1995. I worked as an assistant features editor for The News Tribune and have written a regular column for them since 2000. I have self-published eight novels and a book about art, most of which Gabi edited, and together we have edited books for Jack Butler, Ricker Winsor, Morrison Phelps and others through Mud Flat Press.

We will edit your project using the “track changes” function in Microsoft Word, which allows the writer to accept or reject our suggested changes.

Our fees are negotiable and depend on the size and complexity of the project.

Also see For writers who are considering publishing options. (coming soon)

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