Role of line editors in fiction publishing

Line editing is challenging every word in every sentence written in a manuscript. It addresses the creative content, writing style, and language used. Line edit is not a grammar check, nor does it look for errors in the text. Instead it focuses on the craft of writing that includes paragraph structure, sentence flow, word choice, and language-related techniques. That also means readability and forward movement. And in fiction the language and its use play the focal role in connecting with the readers.

The purpose of line editing is to optimize the language used to communicate a story. Is your usage of language clear, fluid, understandable and pleasurable to read? Does your prose flow smooth and is your pacing correct? Does it convey the right emotion and tone? Do the words chosen convey a precise meaning? Do your words evoke a clear picture, or is your narrative vague? These are some of the questions a language editor addresses as he/she combs through the manuscript.

A line editor will also work on dialogue, pacing, voice, tone, emotions, style and jazz up bland language. They will also identify any part of your manuscript that are not clear or sharp, guaranteeing that your final text is crisper. Line editing makes your sentences the best they can be and ensures that the narrative flows seamlessly.  These edits will help to make your story more concise and streamlined.

Some of the areas a line editor may draw your attention to are:

  • Words or sentences that are unnecessary or overused
  • Run-on sentences
  • Redundancies from repeating the same information in different ways
  • Improving poorly constructed sentences and paragraphs
  • Pacing of the story/passage
  • Stylistic Inconsistencies
  • Character development inconsistencies
  • Scenes where the action is confusing, or the author’s meaning is unclear
  • Transition between sub plots and paragraphs
  • Passages that don’t read well due to insipid language use
  • Suggesting words or phrases that may clarify or enhance your meaning.

Line editors add the right finishing touches to the story so that the manuscript is the very best it can be. Their skills also go far beyond looking at inaccuracies or grammar. In fact, they enhance the author’s words, voice and narrative. Professional and experienced line editors can sharpen your writing, and the step shouldn’t be skipped. They help every author put his/her best book forward!

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