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There are 3 types of academic editing, and they can overlap with each other. Please see the Projects page for a selected list of my editing projects.


Also called CONTENT editing. I can take your unshaped first draft and turn it into a functional and beautiful finished product. This type of editing could also include some RESEARCH as well as some WRITING. Substantive editing looks at the entire book and shapes the content and structure of the book. 

unformed clay on potter's wheel
potter's hands finishing a clay pot

Specific tasks include editing for clarity and logic, organizing chapters and sections, suggesting additions, re-writing, and formatting notes and bibliography. This usually involves multiple cycles of exchanging drafts with the author. The finished product is an accurate, logical, well-organized, and enjoyable piece of writing. 


Think of a bumpy road. Your piece of writing already takes the reader from point A to point B, but there are lots of bumps and dips along the way. I smooth out the rough spots, fill in the holes, and create road signs to help your reader comfortably and clearly understand your message. Specific tasks include eliminating wordiness and clarifying language (which can overlap with SUBSTANTIVE editing), and correcting grammar, passive voice, misplaced modifiers, spelling, and punctuation. Copyediting also includes editing tables, charts, and figures, and correcting the format of notes and the bibliography. This type of editing is essential for non-native English speakers.


I have worked extensively with the Chicago Manual of Style and can ensure that your manuscript conforms to this guide or any other style guide. I can also provide you with a style sheet listing how certain items (spelling, punctuation, numbers) are handled throughout the document.

magnifying glass over text in book


This is the final stage of editing and involves a very close reading of your (mostly polished) work. This could overlap with COPYediting. Specific tasks include checking the final manuscript for layout (proper indentation, formatting, headings, and so on), spelling, punctuation, grammar, word breaks, cross-references, page numbers, and table numbers. This thorough final edit assures you that your writing and presentation are of the highest quality.

© 2013-2024 Susan Matheson. All rights reserved.

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