Writing Guidelines


Review by A Evermore

She has a very keen eye…


Jill has been amazing in the copy editing of my epic fantasy novel (Dragons of the Dawn Bringer). Even though this is the fifth book in the series, she jumped right in and did a marvellous job. She has a very keen eye, not much will get past her, and not only tells you that something should be changed but suggests how it might be changed (and she’s always right!). I was impressed with the depth of her work, spotting things I would never have noticed. Tactful, clever and empathetic – I wish I’d found her at the start of the series! Highly recommended. Thank you.



Jill’s a keeper

Jill at Little Red Lines worked on the proofreading of my debut novel (The Point of Me), which I published in August. Jill’s work on the 100k+ word manuscript was invaluable! All authors have their weaknesses when they write – bad habits that they fall into and that need to be picked out of the final manuscript. Mine was definitely an over use of the words ‘and’, ‘but, and ‘that’! Jill was meticulous and helpful. Whenever a small edit was required Jill was sensitive to how painful it can be to delete passages (no matter how well founded the ‘delete’ advice was!); her suggestions were always constructive and helpful and I know that my book is an easier and more enjoyable read because of her hard work. I will definitely be using her services for my second book and have already recommended her to another author that I know (whose current proofreader is more expensive than Jill’s services and whose work was not so helpful and constructive). Jill’s a keeper 🙂

By Rachel Davidson


“Wish I’d found you at the start of the series…” 

I’ve recently had the good fortune to proofread ‘The Point of Me’ by Rachel Davidson (which deservedly achieved best seller status very rapidly), and am currently honoured to be copy editing the final book of a rather wonderful series. (I’ll let you know more about this when the author is ready to publish.)

So when the second author emailed me to say, “Wish I’d found you at the start of the series”, believe me when I say it means a lot.

I love my job!

Review by GJ Moon

Jill is a fantastic editor. Not only is she professional but she is also very understanding. She didn’t try and change my book, instead she gave me healthy suggestions and many valuable comments. Her work was fast, affordable and she is also a very funny woman, some of her comments made me see my words from a readers eyes and had me in stitches. I trust her 100 percent and even through the final checks she had her eye on the ball. I am looking forward to working with her on the rest of my series. If anyone is looking for an editor that wont chop your words, or take over your book. if you are looking for good price but high quality, then look no further. Jill at Little Red Lines is excellent.

Proofreading tips

Tips for proofreading:

1: Spell checkers are not foolproof. Their dictionary is limited which means that there is a chance that some of the words that show as having been misspelled may simply not be in their memory. If you know the word you have typed is correct, add it, so it catches it in future. Spell checkers also don’t catch valid words, e.g., your/you’re; there/they’re/their; than/then (and please make sure you use the correct version – can you see what’s wrong with the following sentence? ‘She’s an alcoholic; she’d rather have a glass of wine then a cup of tea.’)

2. When you have finished writing and want to begin to edit/proofread your work, if you use Word, there’s a little button that looks like a speech bubble (at the very top of the screen) which allows you to listen to what you have written. Simply highlight your text, turn up the volume, press the button and sit back. It will let you know where you have made any errors (e.g., double words – the the, she she, etc.,) and highlights where any text is ‘clunky’. In short, it lets you hear how your writing flows. I use this a lot. N.B: the amount of text you can listen to is limited, so be prepared to highlight it in stages.

3. Alot is not a single word.

4. If you are talking about one particular item, it is a specific item – not a pacific item. The Pacific is an ocean.

We’ll be back with more examples of how you can begin to proofread your work next week. In the meantime, have a great week, and happy writing!

Latest work completed by us:

If you are a Suffolk employer looking for Apprentices, take a look at this company. We’ve just edited/proofread their new website for them: https://blueskyassessing.com/

Words and their meanings: Q-W

Continuing on from the Ps…

Query letter. A letter that is written to literary agents or publishers when an author seeks representation or publishing.

Rejection slip. A letter sent by an agent or publisher in response to your query letter saying no thank you. Frame it. Chalk it up to experience. Try again.

Reprints. Work that is published after having already been published somewhere else.

Rights. Ownership of a work and how it may be used.

Royalties. The percentage of revenues paid to the author by the publisher. Indie authors receive royalties via the channel they use to publish when their work is purchased.

Run-on sentence. A sentence that goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and shouldn’t. If you have one like this, re-write it.

S.A.S.E. (or SAE) Acronym for “self-addressed stamped envelope” and is sometimes asked for by publishers or agents when you submit to them so that they can send your manuscript back to you along with your rejection slip…

Satire. Used as a way of criticizing people in a humorous manner. Not to be confused with irony: hyphenated -v- non-hyphenated…!

Self-publishing. Used by Indie authors. This is where the author uploads their work (hopefully edited and proofread) to a channel that allows them to sell it. Can also be used for POD (see previous post).

Serial. Something published in several parts, one after another. Examples include trilogies or a run on series.

Short story. Fiction that typically has less than 5000 words and is published alongside other material, rather than as a stand-alone.

Simultaneous submissions. Sending a manuscript to multiple publishers or agents at the same time. If you intend doing this, be sure to check each publisher/agent’s submission guidelines. If they ask you not to do this, don’t!

Small press. A small publishing company rather than one of the ‘big 5’. Small presses often specialise in a particular genre (or in very few select genres – check before you submit to them).

Soliloquy. A monologue, usually in a play, where a character talks to the audience or him/herself. Check out ‘Hamlet’ and the ‘To be or not to be’ speech.

Spine. The part of a book that holds the front hardpage and back hardpage (covers) in place. It’s what shows when it’s on your shelf!

Style. The way a writer writes – their choice of words, the structure of sentences and literary devices that are particular to them.

Submission guidelines. Read them! These are the rules you must follow when submitting a manuscript to a publisher.

Subplot. A secondary story that develops within the main story.

Synonym. A word that means the same (or almost the same) as another. E.g. large, big.

Synopsis. A summary of a book’s plot, usually two to three pages long.

Tearsheet. A page torn from a published article that provides proof of publishing.

Theme. The subject of a book.

Thesis. A lengthy piece of writing on a particular subject – usually submitted by university students that shows their key argument and understanding of the subject.

Tone. The mood implied in a piece of writing.

Trim size. The width and height of a book’s pages.

Typeface. The font specifications (see Font).

Vanity publishing. A service that asks authors to pay to have their books published.

Verb. A ‘doing’ word that describes an action, condition or experience (walked, swam, touched, etc).

Voice. Every author has their own. This is the way that the author conveys his/her message shown in the style of the writing.

White space. The area of a page that holds no text or images.

Word count. The number of words in a manuscript.

Writer. The person who wrote the work, usually the author, but can be a ghostwriter.

That’s it folks – hope you didn’t mind the tongue-in-cheek additions!

If you’ve found this useful, feel free to contact me with any editing or proofreading requirements you have.