Line and Copy Edit

As a romance specialist, I am on the alert for the kinds of mistakes typical to the genre. Character appearance, for example. A hero’s hair can start off blond and be black by the end of the manuscript. Some specific words can also be problematic, like the grammatical difference between lay and lie—and in a steamy romance these can be used often. And, let’s not forget some of the more unattractive euphemisms like “moist portal” and “rigid tumescence.” I can help avoid that pitfall without blushing once. If you’d like a few more details about how I personally perform a line/copy edit, you can read about my approach.

Four scrabble pieces spelling out the word LOVE, perfect image for a romance editing specialist offering romance novel editing services.

What you get with a Three Little Words line and copy edit

  • Two manuscript passes

  • Editorial summary (from two to five pages)

  • In-manuscript comments (Microsoft Track Changes on)

  • Style sheet (includes character list, time map and plot summary)

  • Follow-up email correspondence

  • Light (and silent) manuscript clean-up (Track Changes off)

  • Free blurb-writing service

Two manuscript passes

This means I read through the manuscript two times. On the first pass, I am on the lookout for grammar and punctuation and I create the style sheet, character list, the combination time map and plot summary. On the second pass, I flesh out my comments in both the manuscript and editorial summary with full knowledge of the manuscript in its entirety.

Editorial summary

My editorial summary has two parts: the first will be observations about your story that I had as a reader. The idea here is to shed light on your strengths and weaknesses so you can think about them in your future writing endeavors.  Secondly, coming from a teaching background, I like to offer detailed explanations and examples for repeated mistakes that deal with language, grammar, and punctuation.

In-manuscript comments (Track Changes on)

Because I’m very sensitive to author “voice,” I prefer to use the in-manuscript comments as often as possible, especially when addressing level one and two edits. (You can find my levels explanation in the section headed, “How does a line and copy edit two-for-one work?”) I also use the comments for style issues (repetition, bland language, pacing) so that you can easily choose whether to accept or ignore my suggestions. However, on occasion, I will leave examples directly in the text, which are easily identifiable with Track Changes. Also, when it comes to basic grammar and punctuation, I always correct these in the text.

Style sheet

The style sheet includes several sections. There will be a character list with key features that helps to ensure character continuity. The time line is emphasized, making sure to record all time progression from chapter to chapter and scene to scene. In addition, I will keep a “calendar” that follows the months and weeks to guarantee normal time progression. The plot summary will be a brief one- or two-line summary of each chapter featuring both backstory and present story. The style sheet itself will have a list of word style choices to ensure consistency.  

Follow-up email correspondence

After you’ve been through all the documents I’ve sent you, I’m available to answer any questions you may have through email. (If you’re really interested in a face-to-face chat, we can organize one.)

Light and silent manuscript clean-up (Microsoft Track Changes off)

Before reading your manuscript, I will give it a very light clean-up so that it follows industry standards in formatting—basically just to facilitate downloading your manuscript onto a digital platform.  

Free blurb-writing service

As your editor, I’ll have done a deep dive into your novel and will know your romance story inside and out and be great friends with your hero and heroine. As part of my service, I’m offering to write a blurb for you, free of charge. It will be all yours—with my best wishes—to use, revise, or be an inspiration for your own version.