Editing vs Revising: Explained

In the writing world, where you can be an author, a book publisher, a storyteller, or a fiction writer, you should know the distinction between editing vs revising. It can help you improve the quality of your final manuscript. Both processes are critical in the writing journey. However, they serve different purposes and require unique approaches. Let’s take a look into these two essential aspects of writing so you can grasp their importance and apply them effectively in your work.

What is Editing?

Editing is a crucial step in the writing process that refines and enhances the language of your manuscript. It helps you correct grammatical errors, improve sentence structure, and ensure clarity and coherence in the narrative. Book editing services play a vital role in this process. These services polish the text and make it more readable and engaging for your audience. It is a technical process that concentrates on the language and presentation rather than the content itself.

When tackling “editing vs revising,” one must ask during editing: “Is this sentence grammatically correct?” “What is the best way to put the sentence in the active voice while still maintaining its meaning?” or “Which strategy is the best way to improve clarity in a wordy sentence?” Editing is where you refine the language to convey the story or message in the most effective way possible.

Types of Editing

Looking further into “editing vs revising,” we see that editing encompasses various types, each serving a specific purpose in the manuscript refinement process. For a detailed comprehension of the different kinds of editing essential in the “editing vs revising” process, you can explore Types of Editing. These types include developmental editing, which focuses on prominent aspects such as theme, plot, and character development; copy editing, which addresses grammar, syntax, and punctuation; and proofreading, the final step to catch any remaining errors. If you learn these types, it will help you choose the proper editing needed for your manuscript at different stages of its development.

What is a Revision?

In the context of “editing vs revising,” revision, on the other hand, goes more extensive than editing. It is where you revisit the content of the manuscript and reimagine or restructure it to enhance its overall impact and effectiveness. When revising, an author might change the plot, develop characters further, or alter the pacing of the story. Revisions address questions like: “What is the best way to revise the sentence?” “How can the plot be made more engaging?” or “Does the story flow logically?”

Revision is about seeing the bigger picture. It is where you would make substantial changes that might even involve rewriting entire sections of the manuscript. Keep in mind that it is a creative process where you should focus on the heart and soul of the manuscript rather than just its language.

Editing and Revising: The Interplay

The interplay between “editing and revising” is crucial for any writer. While revising, you might ask, “Which sentence should be revised to have a formal style and objective language?” or “Which of the following is an action taken during the editing process?” These questions highlight the different focuses of each process in the “editing vs revising” dynamic. Revising is about the content and structure. At the same time, editing is about the language and presentation.

“Editing vs revising” are not standalone processes; they often overlap and intertwine. For instance, when you revise a paragraph for better clarity, you may find yourself correcting grammatical errors, which is a part of the editing process. Similarly, during editing, you can stumble upon a plot inconsistency that requires revising.

Revision vs. Editing: When and How to Apply

Deciding when to engage in “editing vs revising” can be a bit of a puzzle. Typically, revision should come first. After you’ve completed your first draft, step back and look at your work critically. Revise your manuscript for structure, flow, and content. Once you are satisfied with the overall structure and content, move on to editing, where you fine-tune the language and presentation.

Revising and Editing Strategies for Writers

Here are some strategies for effective “editing vs revising”:


  • Take a break after writing your draft before revising.
  • Read aloud to catch inconsistencies and awkward phrasing.
  • Focus on one aspect at a time, like character development or plot progression.


  • Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Use tools like grammar checkers, but don’t rely solely on them.
  • Read each sentence carefully to ensure clarity and conciseness.


You must know the concept of editing vs revising. If you understand and effectively apply it, you can surely enhance the quality of your writing. You should know that revising is about the content and structure. In contrast, editing focuses on the language and presentation. Both are essential steps in the writing process and require different approaches and mindsets. So, you should try to master these skills in order to elevate your writing to new heights. It will ensure that your final manuscript resonates with your intended audience.


What is the first rule of editing?

The first rule of editing is to ensure clarity and conciseness in your writing. This means eliminating unnecessary words, correcting grammatical errors, and making sure each sentence is clear and to the point.

How is revising different from editing?

Revising focuses on the content, structure, and flow of your writing. In contrast, editing concentrates on the language, grammar, and presentation. Revision may involve significant changes to the plot or characters. At the same time, editing is about refining the existing text.

Are revising and editing the same activity?

No, revising and editing are different activities. Revising is about improving the content and structure of your writing, whereas editing focuses on technical aspects like grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Do you edit or revise first?

It is generally recommended to revise first and then edit in edit vs revise. Revising allows you to refine the overall structure and content of your manuscript before focusing on the language and grammar details during editing.

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