What Is A Three Story Method Line Edit?

Great writing isn’t simply telling a great story. It’s also about finding the best words to tell your great story.

Put simply, a line edit is a line-by-line read of your manuscript, where your editor suggests changes that tighten, strengthen, clarify, and improve the reader’s experience of your work.

More art than science, a line edit asks questions like:

  • Is the prose tight to drive the story forward? Are there needless words and extraneous digressions?
  • Do the words chosen successfully evoke the tone the author is trying to reach?
  • Is there a consistent point of view? If the POV shifts, does it do so logically and clearly?
  • Is the language unambiguous and free of cliches?
  • Do the sentences flow together naturally?
  • Are there obvious grammatical or punctuation errors?
  • Is the story written in active voice? If some parts are passive, is that necessary?

What About The Three Story Method?

A Three Story Method Scene or Story Diagnostic takes a deep dive into your story at a higher level, encompassing characters development, world building, theme, pacing, and most importantly, the Three Story Method’s critical pillars: Conflict, Choice, and Consequence. When combined with a line edit, the author gets a comprehensive look at all the critical elements of the work.


What do I get back from an editor?

Most commonly, you will send your work to your editor in Microsoft Word (docx) format, and you will get back a new Word document containing your edited manuscript. To do the edits, the editor will turn on Track Changes, so that you can see, character by character, what the editor changed. You can then review and accept or reject each change individually.

Most editors will also use Word’s comment feature, which allows them to highlight words and phrases and then write an extended comment for your review. Such comments can explain why a particular change was made, suggest larger changes that require the author to significantly rewrite a section, or simply to point out passages where the author has created excellent work.

A line-edited page from an actual manuscript. The original author has granted permission to use this sample.

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