Writing & Editing Defined:

The Ghostwriter/Editor’s Tool Chest

Ghostwriting: Building the Foundation

Ghostwriting is the process of writing something for another individual. Essentially, the person who will be credited as the author of a given project hires a ghostwriter to produce a professional piece of writing based on notes, outlines, interviews, videos, etc. A ghostwriter is usually uncredited for their work (hence, “ghost”).

Focus: high-quality writing (usually book-length). Deliverable: a manuscript for an author to put their name on.


DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING: BLUEPRINTS AND PERMITS

This category chiefly applies to books. A developmental edit, sometimes known as structural editing, involves big-picture planning, organization, and flow. It may include the creation of outlines, chapters, and drafts, developing a narrative for the presentation of ideas, and suggesting new material.

Focus: improvement. Deliverable: a revised, refined new draft of your work.


Copyediting: Renovation

“Copy” is any text that’s written for publication. Copyediting is the process of editing copy for accuracy, clarity, style, consistency, and formatting, and correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, word choice, subject/verb agreement, etc. Copyediting also may include fact-checking, checking references, and making alterations to a text for proper adherence to the preferred style guide.

Focus: correction. Deliverable: a piece of writing that is exponentially more effective at communicating its message and engaging its target audience.


In the traditional sense, a “proof” is a preliminary draft of a piece of copy, and proofreading is the final quality check before copy goes out to the world. A true proofreader makes no changes but identifies and marks any errors or discrepancies in copy that have been missed. The writer or copy editor then consults the proofreader’s marks and makes the necessary corrections. In reality, proofreading is usually a final polish before a piece of writing goes to the reader.

Focus: perfection. Deliverable: a piece of writing that is polished and error-free.

Proofreading: Sandpaper and Paint