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Good writing is like a fine wine – it needs time to mature. You can say the same for your prose. That’s why line editing is so essential – it allows you to polish your work until it shines. This blog post will discuss how to line edit your work for maximum impact. We’ll talk about sentence structure, syntax, and how to hold your reader’s attention from beginning to end. So pour yourself a glass of wine, and let’s get started!

1. Read your work out loud to catch awkward phrasing and mistakes

Reading your work aloud is one of the best ways to catch line editing mistakes. You will see errors in grammar and spelling, but you’ll also be able to hear awkward phrasing and sentences that don’t flow well. This step is crucial in line-editing, so make sure to do it before moving on to the next step.

2. Cut out unnecessary words to tighten up your prose

Cutting out unnecessary words will make your writing more concise and engaging for your reader. Make sure to cut out any comments that don’t contribute to the meaning of your sentence, or you can replace them with a more specific word.

One example of an unnecessary word in prose is the use of “basically.” In most cases, “basically” can be omitted without impacting the meaning of a sentence. For instance, the sentence “I basically agree with you” could be rewritten as “I agree with you.”

Another example of an unnecessary word in prose is the use of adjectives. You can often replace adjectives with more descriptive verbs. For example, the sentence “She had a really great time” could be rewritten as “She enjoyed herself.”

There are many unnecessary words in prose, and here are a few examples:

there

-In order to: can be replaced with “to”

-Very unique: can be replaced with “unique”

-Due to the fact that: can be replaced with “because”

-A lot of people don’t realize that: can be replaced with “many people don’t realize that”

-At this point in time: can be replaced with “now” or “currently”

-I would recommend that you: can usually just be said as “recommend you”

Remember, line editing is all about making your prose more concise and engaging for your reader. By cutting out unnecessary words, you can significantly impact the clarity and quality of your writing. So go forth and line edit like a pro!

3. Check for proper verb tense and subject-verb agreement

This will ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and easy to understand.

Tips for checking verb tense and subject-verb agreement

– Read your sentences aloud to see if they sound right.

Read the sentence to ensure all verbs are in the same tense to check the verb tense. To check subject-verb agreement, read the sentence to ensure that there is one subject and one verb and agree (meaning that they have the same number and gender). Here are two simple rules to help you remember how to make sure your verbs and subjects agree:

– If the subject is singular, use a singular verb. For example, “The dog wagged its tail.”

– If the subject is plural, use a plural verb. For example, “The dogs wagged their tails.”

We recommend using a grammar checker like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to catch errors.

4. Make sure your adjectives and adverbs are doing their job

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Your adjectives and adverbs must be added to your sentence, not just taking up space. It would be best to use adjectives and adverbs sparingly to avoid turning your writing into purple prose.

Tips for using adjectives and adverbs effectively

Use specific and concrete words instead of general ones:

Specific and concrete words are more effective because they paint a clearer picture in the reader’s mind. For example, the word “car” is general, whereas the words “Chevrolet Corvette” are specific and concrete.

The word “house” is general, whereas the words “colonial-style home with white shutters and a red door” are specific and concrete.

When you use specific and concrete words, you’re more likely to engage your reader’s imagination, making your writing more exciting and memorable.

Instead of “I love spending time with my family,” try “I enjoy going to the park with my cousins.”

Instead of “I’m interested in history,” try “I love reading about ancient Greece.”

Instead of “I want to be healthier,” try “I’m going to start biking to work.”

Use strong verbs instead of relying on adjectives and adverbs:

One way to use strong verbs instead of adjectives and adverbs is to use active voice instead of passive voice.

Another way to use strong verbs is to choose verbs that express more than one action. For example, the verb “to eat” doesn’t express much effort; it’s just simply putting food into your mouth. However, the verb “to devour” depicts taking in something with a lot of energy or force.

For example, rather than saying, “She walked quickly,” try, “She sprinted.” Or instead of “The room was very quiet,” try “The room was deathly quiet.”

Using strong verbs can create a more vivid and dynamic image for your readers and make your writing sound more alive and exciting. So next time you’re stuck for words, try reaching for a strong verb instead!

5. Eliminate clichés and redundancies from your writing

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You can do a few things to eliminate clichés and redundancies from your writing.

Tips for avoiding clichés and redundancies:

– Make sure every sentence is unique and has a purpose.

– Avoid using the same words over and over again.

– Be more specific with your language, and use concrete images and examples whenever possible.

– Try reading your work out loud to catch any awkward phrasing or unnecessary repetition.

– Be aware of the words and phrases you use most often, and make an effort to replace them with more original language.

6. Fix run-on sentences or fragments

There are a few things you can do to fix run-on sentences and fragments:

– Use periods and commas to create clear, concise sentences.

– Start a new sentence when you need to give extra information or clarify your point.

Use dependent clauses (aka subclauses) to group related thoughts to make your writing clear and concise.

– Use conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor) to connect related thoughts into a single sentence.

– Make sure every sentence has a subject and a verb that agrees with the subject.

– Use a thesaurus to find alternate words that express the same idea more interestingly.

– Ask someone else to read your work for possible mistakes or areas you could improve.

About hiring a professional editor: 

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While it may be tempting to save money by editing the novel yourself, I believe (from personal experience) that it’s worth the investment to hire a professional for at least part of the editing. It will save time in the long run, and it will also result in a better novel.

Stylistic editing: There are many different ways to edit text, but something called stylistic editing is all about making changes to the way the text looks and reads. Stylistic editing can involve changing individual words and phrases to restructuring entire sentences or paragraphs. One of the most critical aspects of stylistic editing is ensuring that the text flows smoothly and is easy to read. This often means simplifying complicated language, breaking up long paragraphs, and adding headings and subheadings to help readers navigate the text.

Developmental editing: A professional developmental editor will help you improve your thriller by focusing on plot, structure, characterization, and style. You will learn how to tighten up your plot, make sure your structure is sound, develop your characters more fully, and make sure your writing style is engaging and effective.

Line editing: Professional line editors typically have a strong grasp of grammar and style and an eye for detail. They will review your manuscript carefully, looking for any errors or inconsistencies. In addition to correcting mistakes, they may also make suggestions for improving the overall organization or flow of the piece.

Line editing is just one step in the editing process; it is usually followed by a higher-level edit that focuses on broader issues such as plot and character development. However, if your goal is to produce a clean, polished draft, the line editing process may be all you need.

Choose carefully and decide where you need the most help for your story.

Conclusion

By following these simple tips, you can enhance the readability of your writing and make them more engaging for your audience. We encourage you to experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you and your writing style.

If you have any questions, please leave a note, and we’ll get back to you 🙂

The best,

Ulla

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