Line Editing

Edit RuthlesslyEdit Ruthlessly (Photo credit: Dan Patterson)

I am up to my neck in line edits for Brumby’s Run. The deadline is 5th March. Thank God it’s a leap year! I might end up being very grateful for that extra day. Line editing looks at the style of the manuscript – ensuring it says what it’s meant to say, making it more readable, effective and interesting.

I’ve already taken on board the list  of suggestions contained in the structural editing notes, and have completed a redraft. The story is in place, the characters set to go. My editor has now shone a bright searchlight on the manuscript, looking not only to refine the voice, but to point out any inconsistencies that may have been brought about by the redraft. Are any scenes out of context? Is the chronology right?  Has a plot trigger disappeared, or accidentally been repeated because the narrative had been rearranged?

Following the advice of Nathan Bransford (wise author and ex-literary agent), I allowed the edited manuscript to sit for a day or too, while I mulled it over. Then I read through the changes, and accepted all the obvious ones. Now I’m tackling the tricky ones, and the controversial ones that I might not agree with. Line editing is not meant to interfere with, or change an author’s voice. It is meant to clarify plot and character, and ensure a polished end product. I have every confidence in my lovely editor, and I know the process is improving the story. But I must confess, at times over this past week, I’ve felt like tearing out my hair!