How To Use Line Editing To Transform Your Novel

By on June 27, 2019
How To Use Line Editing To Transform Your Novel - Writer's

Have you heard of a technique called line editing? Well, if you haven’t, now is the time to explore it. Line editing can be a fantastic method to use when editing your novel. Want to find out more about it? Read on!

What is line editing?

Line editing is the practice of holding your manuscript up to the light and examining it as a piece of art. It’s making sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors, but also checking the language itself, and changing anything that doesn’t flow, that isn’t creative or concise. Line editing is detailed and takes practice and patience, but by the time you are finished you should end up with a piece of work that is compelling, stylistically clever and ultimately appeals to your target audience.

What makes it different from other editing?

There are many different ways authors can choose to edit their books. Line editing focuses specifically on the minute detail, line by line. While proofreading may weed out errors and inconsistencies, line editing aims to perfect and polish the piece. Proofreading is more rigid and scientific; line editing is more creative and subjective. Similarly with copyediting, which has the aim of making your prose more readable, examining changes in tense, for example, or spelling out numbers- there is more technical work behind this type of editing, where the nature of line editing is to add flair, to ask ‘what makes this piece good and exciting and unique?’

So how can line editing help make your book great?

It will give your prose finesse.

Whether line editing yourself or employing the services of someone to do so, the result should be that your prose shines brightly. It examines your word choice, makes every word purposeful and precise, and removes any dreaded clichés.

It will remove any wasted words.

Line editing will ensure that each word in your story counts, that you don’t go off on tangents, that any pointless parts of the story are taken away. It ensures you don’t repeat words or say the same thing twice just in a different way. It cleans up the syntax and ensures that your sentences are short and punchy and to the point, as well as being creative and descriptive enough to draw your readers in.

It fills in the gaps.

Line editing can also ensure consistency both in how your characters behave and talk but also in terms of the overall plot. If something doesn’t sit right, or a character acts, well, out of character when there has been no build up of reason for them doing so, line editing can help to highlight this and allow the author to make changes before it is too late.

It checks mood and ensures the tone is right

The last thing you want is to write a heartbreaking scene that makes your readers smirk, or try to make them laugh but instead offend or upset them. Line editing can help ensure that the tone matches the mood and vice versa and that the atmosphere the author is trying to convey is spot on.

Should I hire a line editor?

While you can try to do line editing yourself, hiring a line editor can be a useful way for someone who isn’t close to your project to look at it in detail and help to highlight some of the issues that may be holding you back. It’s hard for authors, who are so close to their work, to scrutinize it as thoroughly as a professional would, so it is undoubtedly something looking into.

bethany cadman

Bethany Cadman -

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