Musical Line Editing makes a manuscript sing and dance

A writer’s standard work-in-progress sequence is:

  1. First draft
  2. Developmental edit
  3. Second draft, aka rewrite
  4. Line edit
  5. Copy edit
  6. Proofread

Let’s define some of those terms.

  • A first draft, as Terry Pratchett says, simply tells the story to yourself. Flipping narrative into “story” typically happens during the rewrite.
  • Developmental editing looks at a first draft’s writing quality. It’s like having a coach while you rewrite.
  • Line editing corrects style, content, and language problems. In other words, it makes the prose coherent and flow well. Some people call this content editing, structural editing, or substantive editing.
  • Copy editing corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation as well as word usage and factual errors. It also checks style-guide issues. For example, book publishers expect submissions to be in CMS, or Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Finally, proofreading corrects any lingering typographical errors.

Where does Musical Line Editing (MLE) come in?

MLE is done by a ghostwriters, not editors. In fact, it should probably be called Musical Line Tweaking. More than a line edit but less than a rewrite, MLE puts the cadence in the prose.

Claudia Suzanne

Certified Ghostwriters do their MLEs with the author. Since every Wambtac author gets both a primary ghostwriter and a team lead, we MLE as a team. That’s right—every Wambtac manuscript sings and dances with power, punch, and impact.

MLE fits in here:

  1. First draft
  2. Developmental edit
  3. Second draft
  4. Musical line edit (or tweaking)
  5. Line/copy edit
  6. Proofread

What does the MLE do?

Simply put, the MLE addresses each individual phrase and sentence’s Slinky® flow and musicality. In other words, it lifts good writing into powerful prose. It raises great manuscripts into Marketable Literary Properties.

To clarify, MLE makes sure the manuscript:

  • Conforms to industry standards
  • Resonates with the average reader
  • Inspires sales

You see, disconnected paragraphing sometimes hide an author’s cadence. For example, what seems like reasonable redundancy can actually dilute their message. Even worse, standard writing formats, such as the “Dale Carnegie” technique, weaken the author-reader connection.

Humans love stories

Plato quote about story

Nonfiction and memoir authors often recite facts, which makes it hard to enjoy. But MLE turns those dry narratives into easily absorbed and processed “story.” What’s more, it reduces the work’s unintended weaknesses.

For example, it removes “editorial” from nonfiction.

MLE also corrects one-dimensional characters and strengthens the protagonist’s arc. Furthermore, it gets rid of plot holes and implausibilities while emphasizing important ideas and driving the text forward.

In other words, MLE adds punch and impact while maintaining your voice, intent, and perspective. Bottom line, MLE makes any nonfiction, memoir, or novel into a “page-turner.”

And no, you won’t find this essential service anywhere else.


Nonfiction Monthly: 90 minutes twice a week, $1,500/month

Memoir Monthly: 90 minutes twice a week, $2,500/month

Fiction Monthly: 90 minutes twice a week, $3,500/month