A 6-Part Copyedit Process for Christian Manuscripts

This six-part copyedit process adds value to the author’s voice while helping them tell their story in the easiest way possible.


Each and every editor in the editing world has their own way of conducting an edit. Because this is true, it is beneficial for an author to learn more about how the editor they want to work with will comb through your manuscript. Editors are also people with their own preferences and have certain components of writing that stick out to them, so discovering if a copyeditor values the same parts of an edit that an you do might end up saving you time and money 

With that said, I am sharing how I conduct a copyedit for my Christian authors. To begin, I believe that there are six components of a copyedit that help me achieve the result my author is looking for.

Read Through

The first and most important step for me is a thorough read through of the manuscript. This helps me get the gist of the author’s voice and writing style. As I read through, I am reading at the line level and not committing to memory any punctuation issues, though I will make note of and change any that are glaringly incorrect during the first pass of the manuscript.


My copyedit process involves components of line editing, so grammar is addressed as I read through the manuscript. I am recasting sentences (while keeping voice intact) or making note of sentences that may not make sense when independently looked at compared to the sentences around them. From there, I try to determine how to make those sentences flow better. I will also look at things such as subject-verb agreement and consistent verb tense during this phase.


Word Choice

I have probably already made a note of questionable words during the first read through but at this phase, I am spending a bit more time comparing words to find the best word to use in a given sentence. Word choice also expresses the author’s writing voice/style, so I take time to point out when a word choice reflects uncertainty or conveys a tone that is more formal, harsh, or even playful. I make note of options that I think might be a better fit for the author to consider.


Is this author an Oxford comma lover? Does the author want to use a semicolon to communicate a softer pause than an em dash, or would a comma suffice? Is the exclamation point here necessary?

These are the questions I ask myself as I review a mansucript’s punctuation choices. Again, punctuation is another way to communicate the author’s voice and style. 


There is some overlap with word choice in this section, as there are times when word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs will not catch that a word in context is incorrectly spelled — this might mean the difference between white, whit, and with, or to, two, and too. Additionally, these word processors may flatout miss when a word is spelled incorrectly. Copyediting allows me to catch these nuances.  


A thorough copyedit will involve checking facts as they are written throughout your work in progress and flagging them for you, the author, to review. The purpose of this is to ensure accuracy as well as confirm that you have the proper permissions (where appropriate) to cite the material you are citing, especially as it relates to quoting various versions of the Bible. We are looking at things like the correct Bible verses references, the names of people mentioned in the Bible, historical dates mentioned, etc. 

This is my Anointed process for copyedits. If you’d like to submit your manuscript for review using this process, let’s talk. Book a Copyedit Assessment call today.

Featured photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash; in-text photo by Brandy Kennedy on Unsplash