What’s the difference between line editing and proofreading? After your manuscript has had a developmental edit, a beta read, and possibly a copyedit, a line edit will fine tune those paragraphs with word choice, grammar, and punctuation. Proofreading is your final step before hitting the Publish button. A proofreader will look for different things than a line editor, so don’t skip your line edit! Here is what I’ll look for:
I’ll go through and correct hyphens such as making sure mid-morning is midmorning and half asleep is half-asleep.
Commas, smart vs. curly quotes, question marks placement, ellipses usage, em vs. en dashes, hyphens, digit vs. spelled numbers, speech tags, percent usage, spaces and tabs, etc.
Magazines, titles, songs, books, newspapers. I’ll make sure your Movie Titles are italicized and “Song Titles” are in quotes..
We know that spellcheck doesn’t catch everything. I’ll find when hi should be his or the is supposed to be they. I’ll make sure your past tenses are in the past, subjects and verbs happily agree, and adverbs and adjectives are properly connected.
Does Becky Sue have green eyes in chapter one but somehow has blue eyes in chapter four? Did your murderer use a jade knife, but the detective found the ivory-handled blade in a later chapter? Did Becky Sue have her back to the door while waving good-bye but somehow reached forward to turn the knob? Was your main character born in Akron but later on tells everyone it’s Arkon?
Are the sentences in your paragraphs all the same length? Is there enough construction variety, or do you have all clause-comma-clause sentences?
Do you have “wear” when it should be “where?” I’ll also look for the times when the same word each time is used too many times in the same paragraph all the time.
You’re almost there. Your proofread will include spelling, punctuation, italics, en and em dashes, overall visual layout, chapter numbering, margins, paragraphing, and removing extra spaces, tabs, and indents.
Send me the first few chapters, and I’ll look them over with a sample edit and provide a quote based on the number of corrections found. The fewer corrections, the lower the quote.
After you’ve reviewed the tracked changes in the sample and you love them, I’ll send along a letter for us both to sign that details the project and our expectations.
Once that business is complete, I’ll settle in with your manuscript and do what I love: guide your story to the best it can be.