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  • Writer's pictureCatie Phares

Substantive? Mechanical? How do you know what kind of editing you need?

Have you ever called in an expert for help—only to find you need help navigating the help?

That’s the frustrating situation I find myself in almost every time I need something maintained or repaired in my home. Anyone who knows anything about trades work or DIYing will probably have a good laugh at this, but changing a lightbulb is pretty much the extent of my practical skills. So when something BIG goes wrong—think something leaking, sparking, or making some kind of awful sound it shouldn’t—I get an anticipatory headache at the thought of all the work I’m about to do just to line up the work that can make it right.

It feels like dozens of questions need to be answered before anything can be done to improve the situation:

  • What’s the job title of the person who fixes this kind of problem?

  • What kind of problem is it? Most of the time, I don’t even know the words for what’s gone wrong (Flange? Valve? Terminal? Trust me when I say you’re probably just going to want to look at this yourself, friend.)

  • What result is possible here? Identical replacement or upgrade (upgrade in what way)? Why would I pick one over the other?

  • What materials could be used? Which should be used?

  • What is considered a relevant complication or feature that I should mention? Etc.

So when I’m lucky enough to find someone who can come to my house, look at the problem with a seasoned eye, and simply fix it for me while posing the bare minimum of the above questions? Frankly, I’m hard pressed not to weep with gratitude (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration… but barely). I just don’t have time to step outside my own zone of expertise for hours or even days of dedicated research into someone else’s line of work. Few of us do these days.

Life is so much smoother, easier, and better when you find a reliable expert who can confidently take important work OFF your plate. This is the experience I want to provide for CS Phares clients.

It’s why if you haven’t worked with us before, you may be surprised to find that you won’t be asked to research and choose between 22 different types of editing for your document. With the goal of actively reducing our busy clients’ cognitive labor, we have long offered just two streamlined tiers for them to choose from:

Pure Polish

This service is for documents that are essentially in their finished state, but require a pair of eagle eyes to catch any remaining errors and inconsistencies. Typos, nonstandard grammar, inconsistencies within the content, biased or problematic language—all of these issues are addressed with a Pure Polish. This level of editing incorporates changes that many companies would classify as mechanical editing and/or proofreading, and even some facets of copyediting. The result is a polished, professional-looking, clean read that you can feel confident submitting.

The Works

Exactly what it sounds like: this level of editing can incorporate virtually every type of editing there is, from developmental or structural editing (if required) through English language editing and standard copyediting all the way down to the granular details involved in a Pure Polish. With this service, if we see any opportunity to better align the writing with your target audience and objectives, we’ll take it. The result is a comprehensive transformation of your document to something clearer, stronger, and more readable—without losing your unique voice.

While we’ll always offer our honest recommendation as to which of these two levels we think is best for the project in question, the choice is ultimately yours.

Want to see the difference between them in the context of your own research?

Reach out to us today for a free sample edit of one page of double-spaced text at both levels so you can compare and choose the right one for your document.

We can’t wait to help you achieve more success and more ease in this critical aspect of your work!

- Catie Phares


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