Quick Links: Ultimate Guide: Structural Editing For Your Novel

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Can you over edit a manuscript? I mean I am sure it is possible but most of the time the problem is not enough editing, and not enough of the right kind of editing. Author Helen Scheuerer from Writer’s Edit helps with the ultimate guide for structural editing.

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Ultimate Guide: Structural Editing For Your Novel

If you’re an author who has finished a manuscript, chances are, you may have seen the term ‘structural edit’ floating around. Perhaps you’ve even been told to have an editor look over your book for ‘structural’ issues.

In this extensive guide, we’ll take you through: what is a structural edit, why your book needs one, and what you can do yourself to identify and address structural issues in your fiction.

What is a structural (or developmental) edit?

It may come as a surprise to those of you who are new to the industry, but there are actually three different types of editing: structural (or developmental) editing, copy editing (also sometimes called line editing), and proofreading.

In this article, our focus will be the structural edit.

The structural edit is the process that comes first, after a manuscript is completed. It involves looking at the ‘big picture’ elements of the narrative and characters, and examining which of these elements are working and which could be improved, cut or changed altogether.

A structural edit focuses on literary devices such as:

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