The Technical Details
Have you sent your story to several beta readers and revised according to their feedback?
Has your story been developmentally edited and have all the plot twists been sorted out?
If the answers to these questions is yes, your story is ready for line and copyediting.
These services are often combined because it's difficult to draw the line between the two.
Line editing really gets into the meaning of words.
As I read the manuscript, I check if the story has been told using the most effective, gripping, meaningful words.
I ask, what words have been repeated and could be substituted with something else, something fresher, something more meaningful?
Also, I check if there any words that don't belong the in the manuscript. Over time words change meaning, and nuance is important. Has one word been confused for another?
Copyediting gets down to the nitty-gritty details and ensures the text of the manuscript is correct, consistent, clear and coherent. That means looking at the grammar, spelling, and punctuation very closely.
Are quote marks missing from dialogue? Is it Jones' or Jones's? Are thoughts in italic?
How does the Chicago Manual of Style* suggest numbers be formatted: numerals or spelled out? Does New Hart's Guide or Oxford prefer commas in lists? Has that colon been used correctly?
Copyediting addresses details that most people don't even realize exist. The beauty of copyediting is that when done well, nothing sticks out. The changes are invisible.
The text is made uniform, so that readers are able to sit back and focus on the characters, focus on the story, focus on the experience of living a day in the life in a world you created.
*I edit manuscripts so they meet publishing-industry standards by using The Chicago Manual of Style (US publishers) or New Hart’s Rules/Oxford Style Guide (UK publishers).
What does that mean? Publishers want the text to look a certain way, to follow certain rules (yes, commas, apostrophes, line spacing etc.) This is what copyediting takes care of!
I read a lot and I hope to help authors with the craft of writing. I share good examples of difficult aspects of writing: point of view, narration, world building and more.
Occasionally I give editing tips and share insights from the world of publishing.
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