top of page

What do you need to make your writing better--a line or copyedit?

Kids have impacted me in every way. I can now survive on a handful hours of sleep. Finding a toddler’s shoe takes approximately one hour. And, our pre-kids, meticulously designed modern living room is now just a parking lot for plastic cars and obnoxiously loud garbage trucks.

So when we found out we’d be doubling the toys with a new baby boy and no extra square footage, my cute and cozy home office got the boot.

“I can just put my desk in some corner of the living room,” I told my husband while he crammed toys into the ambitiously small Target bin we bought before we knew how many toys a toddler could have. “Or maybe just work at the dining room table for now. I don’t need much.”

“Or, I could build you a She Shed.”

In its almost finished glory

For nine hard, back-breaking months, my husband built me a 120-square foot shed/tiny house/office. (Or, if you’re my toddler, momma’s castle.) While I grew a baby, he swung a hammer.


Why am I telling you this?

Well, first, it’s awesome. And I’m so proud of my husband.

But second, writing a book is surprisingly similar to building a house.

You need a foundation, walls, and decor. Three major phases.

For a book, you need a developmental edit, line edit, and copyedit. Three major phases.

I’ve talked more at length about these types of edits here. But today we’re going to dive into the differences between line and copyediting with some examples too. I know you have a lot on your mind. Which type of edits to choose shouldn’t be one of them.


Line Editing

Line editing looks at the work line by line, tightening sentences, correcting any confusion, and smoothing out the flow. After a line edit, your work is readable, your sentences are structured, and all words are used correctly. To use the house analogy, a line edit are the walls of your house.


Copyediting is the decorations on a house. It tends to the commas, semicolons, and overcapitalization of words. After a copyedit, your grammar and punctuation are polished. Correctly placing a semicolon is important, but only if the other parts of the book (or house!) are in place. Doesn’t make sense to hang a picture if there are no walls, right?


How about some examples?

And don’t worry–these are made up. My client’s work is confidential and protected until its big debut!


Green is a calming color and it is the color of nature and spring. My dad used to always say ‘wear green when you feel sad”!

Copy (with the changes bolded):

Green is a calming color and it is the color of nature and spring. My dad used to always say, “Wear green when you feel sad!”


The calming color of green reminds me of nature, spring, and my dad. In my childhood, he would say, “Wear green when you feel sad!”


Not knowing anyone–I walked into a living room of strangers; knowing we all really didn’t want to be there, but we all had the same thing in common.

Copy (with changes bolded):

Not knowing anyone, I walked into a living room of strangers knowing we all really didn’t want to be there, but we all had the same thing in common.


I walked into a living room of strangers, only knowing that we were bound by one undesirable reality.

This is an example of a more extreme edit. I rarely insert words you haven’t already used to keep your voice. But if the sentence calls for more of a summary instead of lots of words, I’ll include a new word or phrase. As the author, you have full control over what gets published. If you don’t like the new word or feel like it’s not your voice, you can change it! My job as an editor is simply to consult and you can decide from there.


Jesus hung on the Cross because He loved us; three days night and day.

Copy (with changes bolded):

Jesus hung on the cross because he loved us–three days, night and day.


Jesus hung on the cross for three days because he loved us.


As I sobbing on the curbside. I felt God remind me of this Truth.

Copy (with changes bolded):

As I sat sobbing on the curbside, I felt God remind me of this truth.


I sobbed on the curbside, tears splashing on the cold pavement. And then God reminded me of this truth.


When you work to hard and think you can do every thing in only a few hours; this can create Pressure that feels paralyzing.


When you work too hard and think you can do everything in only a few hours, this can create pressure that feels paralyzing.


Working too hard can create paralyzing pressure.

I eliminated the second phrase “think you can…” because it was repetitive. Concise phrasing goes a long way.


Can I help?

When you’re so close to your work, the editing can feel . . . yeesh.

My mission is to help Christian women like you write with excellence. A good edit can get you there. Tightening your sentences and making your message clear gets me all kinds of jazzed.

Send me a message with your 500-word sample and I'll edit it for free to make sure we’re a good fit!


Hey, I'm Mikaela. 

I'm an editor and writing coach. 
Want to overcome the panic of a blank page? 
Discouraged by negative thoughts? 
Want to improve your writing? 
I'd LOVE to help you. 
Writing with power means getting power over words and readers...-2.png
Over on the 'gram
bottom of page