The difference between edits and copyedits

It was pointed out to me on my post about writing and the creative brain that I haven't really defined the difference between edits and copyedits. I do intend to have another series on editing, but to tide you over, let me give you a few key differences.

Different kinds of edits:

1. First round edits

This is the edit that I've talked about the most. It's also called a concept edit or a big picture edit. This is where most of  the large changes happen, like cutting out characters, changing the ending, etc. This is where you tear the book apart and stitch it back together. You can do one round of concept edits or several. For me, this process took a little over ten weeks. 

2. Line edits

Line edits come after concept edits and can also take one or more rounds to finish. These are more detailed changes, word choice, paragraph order, small inconsistencies.  This also is where you hammer out any lingering problems that remain after the big edits are done. (For instance, I had a character that still needed tweaking.)  You also smooth out any rough spots in the writing. 

Once you get these changes done, you turn the manuscript in for copyedits.

3. Copyedits

Up until now, it's just been you and your editor figuring this stuff out. But copyedits are a totally different animal, for a lot of reasons. The main one is that they send it to a copyeditor (often a freelancer) who looks at things like grammer, timelines and fact-checking. 

In my case there was a production editor as well, who looked it over before the copyeditor got it. Then they make a whole passel of notes and changes, sent the manuscript to MY editor, who made her own comments on the copyedit notes and then they sent it to me. (The other main difference between copyedits and edits is that copyedits are done entirely on hardcopy, but that's a whole other post.)


So there they are, the three different types of edits I went through with City of a Thousand Dolls.  Any questions? 

(Anyone who's been through edits as well is welcome to chime in in the comments section.)

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.