Line Editing

Improving Text Word by Word, Sentence by Sentence


Compared to book development, line editing is practically a party. It’s a craft that takes a long time to develop, much like mastery in the kitchen, I’d say. Once you’re good at it, though, you can never read anything in the same way. You will always look at text and see ways it could be improved.

Line editing is close attention to details. It catches grammar mistakes, sentences that don’t quite mean what the author intends them to mean, repetition, continuity errors, and more. Are you over-using a word? Do you rely on too many clichés? Line editing

Line editing happens late in the process of bringing a book into being, usually once the major structural issues have been handled. My style of line editing is fairly interventionist; only in rare instances will I only leave a comment that a sentence needs attention. Instead I provide what I think is the best solution — exactly what part to cut, and exactly the phrasing and punctuation to put in its place.

Good editor-edited relationships are creative sanctuaries; they become the first place author runs to when they need creative encouragement. The best editor-edited relationships generate clarity on structure, intent, and occasionally the larger questions of life: Why? Why not? What just happened? What's next? 

It’s good to have a lot of reference material handy.

It’s good to have a lot of reference material handy.