Sometimes called developmental editing or structural editing, substantive editing looks at both the content and structure of a manuscript as a cohesive whole.
The structure of any writing is essential for cohesiveness and for maintaining the reader’s interest. If a document is not well structured in the first place, it doesn’t matter how well it is edited or proofread.
You could say that structural editors work on the building blocks of the writing – they make sure the foundation of the writing is strong.
Does the story or argument have a logical flow? Does the text below a heading relate to that heading or is the content in the wrong place? Do headings and the hierarchy of headings make sense and help signpost content?
Are there obvious gaps in the flow of the text? Is the content very dense and difficult to read in some places and light in others? Does the voice of the text change?
Substantive editing may require the editor to suggest re-ordering of large chunks of text, make suggestions about deleting text, adding text, or rewriting small or large chunks of text.
If you need a substantive edit of a piece of writing, contact Susie at Bold Type today.