After your work has had a developmental edit, it should be in pretty good shape to receive a final run-through with a line edit and/or a copyedit. 

A line edit is a more nuanced editing process that focuses on word choice and writing style within your sentences and paragraphs. It is not meant to address grammatical or spelling errors. Instead, a line-edit helps bring clarity, fluidity, atmosphere, emotion and tone to your sentences. 

It may address things like: 

  • Run-on sentences
  • Repetitive word choice
  • Redundant information
  • Tightening dialogue or paragraphs
  • Shifts in tone
  • Unnatural phrasing or cliched word usage
  • Dull use of language
  • Unclear meaning
  • Poor pacing due to word choice
  • And many other elements

A line edit should always be done before a copyedit, because a copyedit focuses on technical errors, and there’s no point addressing technical errors before language use! 

The goal of a copyedit is to make sure your work meets industry standards. It addresses:

  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax
  • Continuity errors in the content
  • Consistency in spelling, capitalization, numerals and fonts
  • Accuracy of statements, if it’s nonfiction

The idea is to improve readability and ensure the text is free of both grammatical and factual errors. This is usually the last editing stage before a piece goes to publication, or to the typesetter if it’s a book. 

The final type of edit one could do is a proofread. A proofread is like a lite version of a copyedit. It’s simply a final run-through to catch any errors that may have slipped through due to human error. It’s not always necessary to do a proofread, but if your piece is super long, it is probably very worth it. There’s nothing more annoying than receiving a printed copy of your book and noticing on page 103 a spelling error!

A line edit can be thought of as the home stretch on a journey towards a destination, and a copyedit is more like the finishing touches while parking your car in the correct spot. Turn the wheel this way then that. 

A proofread means you’ve arrived at your destination, have turned off the ignition, and are just checking a few final things before you exit the vehicle. 

Looking for an editor? Book a consultation with me to discuss further. 

Happy writing!

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