With most documents, the first stage of editing is substantive editing (also known as ‘big picture editing’). Substantive editing involves:
- restructuring paragraphs or sections as necessary, to create a clear document that flows logically.
- removing repetition, and fixing common problems such as:
- overuse of passive voice
- long sentences
- weak verbs and nouns
- nonparallel structure
- unnecessary use of complex words
- overuse of jargon
- checking and revising tables and figures
- applying a consistent referencing style (modifying or creating an Endnote database if required)
- identifying any inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, capitalisation and so on, and liaising with the client about any style decisions
- determining whether permissions are required (e.g. for reproduction of figures)
- adding comments wherever client feedback is needed
- creating and updating tables of contents.
When editing, I track all changes, but I provide clients with two versions of the edited document: one with changes tracked, the other with changes accepted. Both versions include all the comments. For clarity, I also create a separate table of comments, with a column for the client to provide responses to the comments.