Line Editing Philosophy
My primary tools for editing are my own reading and hearing and my experience as a reader and writer. There are matters of form and style that have no strict rules, so decisions must be made on the basis of how the text reads and sounds. I say sounds because, when I read a text, it is almost as if I am hearing it, likely because of my background in writing for radio.
The writing should not be a hindrance to comprehension. For example, long parenthetical ideas—whether bracketed in commas or parentheses—can interrupt the flow of a sentence so that, although the sentences are grammatically correct, the reader has to re-read the sentence or passage to get the point.
How this is applied depends upon whether the text is for a popular audience or for an academic audience. The latter is expected to comprehend more complex writing. Nonetheless, the thought should flow freely so that it can be comprehended without great effort by readers sufficiently familiar with the subject matter. The text should all but disappear behind the meanings conveyed. Any difficulty in reading should result from the ideas themselves, not from the writing style.