Posted Sat, 09/22/12
I came across a post at the Karenzo Media blog which best explains the editing process, my least favorite part of writing. While I dislike the process only because it can become long and ugly, it is absolutely necessary. Reading the same thing over and over again is quite mind-numbing, so having an editor is a blessing - even if you don't like what they have to say on occasion.
From Karenzo Media:
Content editing is done at the rough draft stage of a manuscript. A good content editor will check for style, voice, consistency and overall narrative flow. They will make suggestions as to point of view, character development, audience, plot issues, etc. This is a very in-depth analysis of a manuscript. The content editor is trained to spot inconsistencies and other problematic issues with the construction of the narrative.
Copy editing is the next step in the editorial process. The copy editor is responsible for reviewing grammatical structure of the manuscript, fact checking and overall consistency.
Proofreading is the final stage of the editorial process. Proofreading is done after the rough draft stage. The manuscript has already been reviewed by the content editor for overall narrative flow, and it has been copyedited for serious grammatical issues and correct facts. The proofreader is the final "eye" of the manuscript. They check for typos, anything the copy editor may have missed, layout of the manuscript (are page numbers correct, are paragraphs indented, are fonts consistent, etc.). The proofreader is not the one who will tell you that characters are flat or plot line is skewed. This is sometimes called line editing or final review.
Most readers and non-writers probably assume "editing" is just about proof-reading, but it's obviously much more than that.
Thanks to Kaz at Karenzo Media for the simple yet excellent insight.
I couldn't have explained it better myself!