My line- and copyediting service is for authors who are happy with the overall plot and style of their novel but are looking to improve the readability. A line- and copyedit corrects and smooths, but does so while retaining the integrity of your style and voice.
How to Know if You’re Ready for a Line- & Copyedit
Line- and copyediting will usually take place after beta reading and developmental editing but before you undertake formatting and layout/design.
If you are happy with the plot and development of your characters and you no longer need to make any edits or changes to the foundation of your novel, then you may be ready to move on to this service. However, if you think you may still want to change some aspects of the story or add/remove a significant number of passages, then it is best to wait.
What You Get
1. Full line-by-line edit
I will edit your novel line by line, word by word. I will:
- Address phrasing and word choice
- Address spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, hyphenation, and capitalization
- Address dialogue expression: style, tagging, and punctuation
- Examine the effectiveness of sentence-level narration
- Ensure character-trait consistency
- Examine pace and flow: special attention to repetition and overwriting
- Address told versus shown prose
- Eliminate clichés and awkward metaphors
- Examine the use of tenses
- Address letter, word, line and paragraph spacing
- Address standard document formatting using Word’s styles palette: indentation, paragraph style, section breaks
For more on what line editing and copyediting entails, see my Types of Editing page.
The edits will be carried out using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature unless a different format has been agreed upon in advance.
2. Editorial Report & Style Sheet
3. Up to an hour follow-up chat
I will include a brief editorial report, usually 1 to 4 pages, discussing key concepts and my observations while editing your book.
A style sheet is a separate document that tracks a number of aspects of your novel, including:
- Character names and proper spelling
- Any words that have special treatment (i.e. italics, bold, capitalization, etc.)
- Details regarding setting and any other important story information
- Unique proper nouns used throughout the novel
- Deviations from The Chicago Manual of Style or other style guides
- Matters of the author’s personal preference when style rules are open to interpretation
This document is an important part of maintaining consistency throughout the copyediting and subsequent proofreading process. If you are composing a series, it will also assist you in maintaining consistency across each book.
Unless requested otherwise, I use The Chicago Manual of Style, or CMOS, as a standard reference for fiction editing. The CMOS is considered industry standard in the US. As for dictionaries, I typically refer to Merriam-Webster as my standard when editing fiction for US-based authors.
While these are my standard references, I am always willing to take into consideration an author’s personal style and preferences when editing fiction.