So you have nailed down your manuscript–story arcs, characters, setting, and plot–and it has come time to polish everything to a high shine. Now is when a line edit comes into play.
A line edit addresses the writing style, language use, and creative content at a literal line-level–working with sentences and paragraphs in painstaking detail. But the purpose of a line edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors. Instead, a line edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Is the writing fluid, clear, and enjoyable to read? Does it convey action, emotion, tone, atmosphere? Does your diction deliver precise meaning, or have you chosen generalizations, overused vocabulary, and clichés?
Beyond these things, a line edit can draw your attention to run-on sentences, mundane passages, redundancies, tonal shifts, unnatural phrasing, confusing narrative digressions. A line editor can suggest changes that can be made to improve continuity and pacing, and words/phrases that can be used to enhance your meaning.
A line edit can ensure the lamp that was left burning in the previous scene is still burning when we return in the next. It can correct a shift in tense or perspective that would ultimately be disastrous for the narrative. It can make sure that the little bookshop your main character loves to frequent always has the same name. The goal here is to smooth out the reading experience and tighten up every aspect of the manuscript.
As with substantive editing, a wide variety of manuscripts and authors means a potential variance in rates! Dependent upon the state of the manuscript, pricing can fall between $0.018 per word and $0.04 per word.
As an example, if you have devoted time to self-editing your manuscript and it is relatively “clean”, I would place that particular project in the lower range ~$.018 per word. If your manuscript is just being brought into the world of editing and is in its raw and unedited state, this could fall in the upper range of $.04 per word.
Line Editing Delivery
So you want to go on this adventure! Here is what you will receive:
- A Microsoft Word document with Track Changes with editing suggestions and comments. Editing will cover language use, style, pacing, continuity, structure, tone, etc. (as noted above)
- A brief editorial letter as a PDF document.
- A style sheet outlining the specific details of your manuscript, including character names, locations, terms, grammar rules, and exceptions, and resource details.
- An email discussion of your manuscript and Q&A (within reason).
Please note that while I make every effort to correct any minor errors I find, such as misspelled words, missing words, punctuation errors, and formatting issues, this is not the primary focus of line editing. I highly recommend proofreading services after a substantive or line edit.
I do not typically provide proofreading services for a manuscript for which I have done a substantive or line editing service. Because of my work and familiarity with the manuscript, this could cause me to miss things (just like you as the author might!) that a fresh pair of eyes would otherwise notice. I want each of the authors with whom I work to have the best opportunities for success, and this has informed my decision to limit crossover in this area.