A common misconception is that proofreading is editing. It is not.
Where proofreaders look for mechanical errors—misspellings, incorrect grammar, alignment, and punctuation—editors look at a document’s content as a whole. Does it flow? Is its meaning clear? Would it make more sense if several of the paragraphs were rearranged? Is the phrasing awkward? Is the copy redundant? Is it too long? Too short? In essence, can it be improved?
Did you know, for instance, that F. Scott Fitzgerald originally wanted to name his signature novel Trimalchio in West Egg or The High-Bouncing Lover? Neither has much of a ring to it. Fortunately, Fitzgerald's editor prevailed, and the novel's title became The Great Gatsby, a memorable book if ever there was one.
Thomas Wolfe loved every single word he wrote; only an editor as skilled as Maxwell Perkins could convince him to cut an astonishing 90,000 words. The result was a classic, Look Homeward Angel.
Rare is the individual who can edit his own writing. Enter the editor, whose greatest strength is distance.
Not happy with what you’ve written? As a copy editor, Margo takes what you have drafted and turns it into prose that more effectively sells your product, educates or entertains your audience, promotes your cause, and provides factual information with clarity.