9 Services a Line Editor Should Provide
If you’re an author, you know that your work doesn’t simply stop after you finish writing your manuscript. Significant work is involved in making a bestselling book out of a manuscript draft, and one of the most essential steps is editing. There are many different types of editing, from developmental editing, to copyediting, to proofreading, but perhaps the most vital editors of all are line editors.
Line editors focus on clarity, flow, word choice, style, voice, and more, going far beyond just a grammar check. Line editors will tighten up your prose and help you tell your story better and more effectively, so they’re indispensable in the publishing process. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a skilled line editor as soon as you’re ready.
Since line editing is such a crucial part of crafting a novel, picking the right line editor can be challenging. Below, we discuss some tasks a good line editor should perform.
1. Clear up ambiguity
Natural language is ambiguous. Words have multiple meanings, and structures can be interpreted in different ways. As the writer, you know what you meant to say, so you may find it difficult to figure out how readers may interpret your meaning. However, the meticulous expert eye of a professional line editor can spot potential ambiguities a mile away. Even if they understand what you want to say, they can see multiple interpretations of a sentence, and they’ll come up with suggestions to avoid any potential confusion.
2. Patch up scenes
Linguistic ambiguity is one thing, but line editors also deal with eliminating another type of confusion: situational ambiguity. Sometimes, it may be unclear which character is speaking, or you may have forgotten to add a transitional sentence to move a character from one location to another. For example, if three characters are having a chat in the living room and you forget to mention that one of them has ducked out to the kitchen, it doesn’t make sense to suddenly say that character “called out” to the others. A good line editor will fix problems like this.
3. Eliminate the boring parts
You poured significant time, effort, and passion into your manuscript, so it’s hard to part with any sentence or paragraph. That’s where a line editor can be a lifesaver—without your emotional attachment to the writing, a line editor can offer an unbiased perspective on which parts are interesting and which parts aren’t. Of course, you have the final say on what stays and goes, but if you want what’s best for the book, you can consider your line editor’s advice.
4. Vary up your word choice
Writers are known for their large vocabularies, but it’s still easy to continually recycle the same few terms, resulting in repetitive and boring prose. Using synonyms can be tricky, as well, because each word has its own unique nuance and connotation. Line editors are skilled in finding appropriate ways to convey your meaning with the same nuance but using new words. This adds variety to your writing and makes it more engaging to read.
5. Maintain your voice
Every author has a unique voice and a different story. You have to be careful not to hire an editor who overrides your voice and simply ends up using their own instead. The best approach to avoid such a conflict is to get a sample from the editor before signing a contract—either a free sample or a paid page or two. Most editors will try to edit in line with your unique voice. If not, it’s time to find another line editor.
6. Ditch the clichés
Clichés don’t make for good, intriguing writing. They’re tired old phrases we’ve all seen a million times. Since they’re so ubiquitous, however, you may find it difficult to avoid them in your writing. That’s where a good line editor comes in. They can easily identify cliché phrases that harm your work and offer creative workarounds to make your writing more unique and engaging. And, in line with the previous point, they’ll do so in your voice.
7. Tighten up awkward sentences
Writing is hard—no author will deny that. No matter how much skill you have, sometimes you’ll still end up writing awkward sentences. Line editors are used to awkward sentences, and they’re experts in bringing out the best in them. They’ll change the structure, switch up the vocabulary, introduce a more appropriate nuance, and just tighten up the sentence in general to elevate the excitement.
8. Polish POV
Sometimes you really need another person’s perspective to appropriately put your work together. A seasoned professional line editor will be able to not only expertly identify problems but also suggest brilliant fixes. A good line editor will let you know when your character seems to know things they shouldn’t or when dialogue should perhaps be converted into narration. They’ll also tell you when you’re doing too much telling and should do more showing, as well as when there’s too much action and you need a bit of description for readers to keep the story straight.
9. Address pacing
Do your characters jump from point A to point B in a flash? Or are they crawling there at a snail’s pace? It can be easy to get engulfed in your own story and lose sight of the pacing, but a good line editor will help you maintain an appropriate pace to develop the story and characters properly without losing the reader’s attention.
If you thought editing was all about grammar, think again. A line editor’s job involves addressing various aspects of your manuscript, and their work can make a major difference in your storytelling. If you’re ready to turn your manuscript into a bestseller, reach out to a professional line editor now