Line Editing

Line Editing

What’s the difference between line editing and proofreading? After your manuscript has had a developmental edit and a beta read, a line edit or copyedit will fine tune those paragraphs with word choice, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. Proofreading is your final step before hitting the Publish button.

The Chicago Manual of Style has so many delightful rules. I’m here to use them and my handy broom to sweep through your manuscript and fix errors in punctuation, spelling, sentence phrasing, dangling things, hyphens, em dashes, and verb tense agreement. And oh, so much more! 

Things to look for

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Sentence structure

Are the sentences in your paragraphs all the same length, or do you have variety for pacing and rhythm? I’ll look for construction variety and paragraph breaks.

Compounds and Hyphens

I’ll go through and correct hyphens such as making sure mid-morning is midmorning and half asleep is half-asleep.


Magazines, titles, songs, books, newspapers. I’ll make sure your Movie Titles are italicized and “Song Titles” are in quotes.

Other fixes: 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.

Spelling and Grammar

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. 

We know that spell-check 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 goodbye but somehow reached forward to turn the knob? Was your main character born in Akron but later on tells everyone it’s Arkon?

Final Proofreading

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:

Spelling, punctuation, italics, overall visual layout, chapter numbering, margins, paragraphing, and removing extra spaces, tabs, and indents. 

How much will this cost?

My fee is based on the number of errors found.  Expect a range from .01 per word to .02.  The fewer corrections, the lower the quote. Send me the first three chapters, and I’ll look them over with a sample edit and provide a quote based on the number of corrections found. If the quote is not quite in your budget, I can offer a few ideas for you to work on that will lower a second sample quote, and we can go from there.

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.