Critiques, Editing, Beta-reading, and Story Coaching
I work with private writing clients to help them create, improve, and polish their manuscripts. I also provide freelance editorial services for Kirkus Editorial and The Artful Editor. I’ve worked with both experienced writers and those completing their first manuscript. My clients are dotted around in the world, in countries from Australia, Canada, the Channel Islands, England, Ghana to Pakistan, South Africa, and the United States.
I offer editing services of children's book manuscripts (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, graphic novels), YA, and adult fiction (short stories, novels), as well as selected nonfiction. I also edit query letters.
My services include critiques, developmental editing, line editing, beta-reading, and coaching. (For more details, please scroll down.)
So, what type of editing do YOU need?
Usually writers with a new manuscript will choose to begin the editing process with a critique. After revising in response to this bird's-eye assessment of the elements of their story, they may follow-up with a more hands-on developmental edit. After a developmental edit, you’ll want to spend some time reviewing and revising your manuscript. Sometimes writers choose to send a manuscript back to me for a line edit or they may move their manuscript on to copy editing. Next comes a copy edit and then a proofread. (Note: I do not provide these services.) Some writers like to either begin or finish their writing project with a beta-read. When they’re ready to submit to agents or editors, they prepare a query letter or proposal. Finally, some writers, perhaps with an outline in hand, or an incomplete first draft, or even a third draft, like to engage a story coach to help them on an ongoing basis.
Note: Both a critique and a developmental edit have a big picture focus but a critique offers a big-picture assessment and a developmental edit offers a big-picture edit. As a result a DE is more time-intensive and so more costly. A line edit does not have a big picture focus.
I offer critiques
Clients who want an assessment of their overall manuscript and a look at its main elements (does the story work? is there effective character development? how's the dialogue?) often choose a critique.
After reading and reviewing your manuscript, I provide an extensive written editorial report (usually 6 pages or so for picture books and 10 pages + for longer manuscripts) that will include a big-picture assessment of the content of your entire manuscript, which may include comments on characterization, setting, dialogue, structure, plot, language, research and references; a summary of strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript, and how any weaknesses can be improved; and advice on how to develop your manuscript further. I provide responses to three specific questions that you may submit with your manuscript. I’ll also provide some comments in track changes on your manuscript, pointing out examples as mentioned in my written report or introducing other more detailed comments .
I offer developmental editing
Clients who are fairly certain they have many of the main elements in their manuscript in place and want some more in-depth content editing but feel there may still be some big-picture pieces that aren't quite working often choose a developmental edit.
After reading and reviewing your manuscript, I’ll provide you with a brief editorial letter and extensive margin notes in track changes in your manuscript. You may want to take a deep breath before you review these. A developmental edit is a thorough big-picture assessment of your entire manuscript. I assess the elements of your writing, from words (single words and the phrasing of sentences) to overall structure and style. For example I’ll look at plot and structure, character development, setting and point of view, dialogue, telling versus showing, and pacing. I’ll point out the strengths and weaknesses in your manuscript, especially focusing on the weaknesses! I’ll keep your audience in mind.
Usually a developmental edit results in many changes to your manuscript, for example, I may suggest major deletions, reshaping of content, restructuring, and other types of revisions. I’ll also provide suggestions along with my feedback.
I offer line editing
Clients who are confident the main elements of their story (plot, structure, character development, and so on) are working well and believe their manuscript is ready for closer editing often choose line editing.
A line edit is a hands-on line-by-line edit of your manuscript. I provide you with an extensive mark-up in track changes of your manuscript. The goal is to improve the clarity and style of your writing. For example, I address changes in point of view, transitions between sections and paragraphs, dialogue tags, wordiness or use of cliches, and so on. (I usually require a sample of pages from your manuscript when providing a quote.)
Note: This is not a copy editing. Although I do clean up some technical errors, I do not necessarily address them all; this includes errors in punctuation, grammar, or spelling, and so on.
I offer services as a writing coach
I help you to articulate and decide on your writing goals and then map out how to move forward with your manuscript, one step at a time. I can help by reading content or editing drafts. Whether your goal is to self-publish, to submit to an agent or traditional publisher, to develop the manuscript as an app, or simply to finish the story you've always dreamed of writing, I can help.
I offer query letter reviews
When I assist you with your query letter, I provide two rounds of help for one fee. I usually provide you with an extensive mark-up in track changes of your letter. Sometimes I may find it helpful to send you an editorial note as well.
I offer beta-reading
I read your manuscript and provide you with a brief editorial note of 2 - 3 pages with broad-stroke comments outlining your work’s strengths and suggested areas for revision. Alternatively I can provide responses to targeted questions.
I do not offer copy editing or proofreading.
I am happy, however, to provide with contact information for several experienced colleagues. Copy editors focus on making corrections to grammar, spelling, and word usage. They’ll check the manuscript for consistency in style and tone, as well as content. Proofreaders are the final watchdog before a manuscript is sent to press.
To find out more details about my critique, editing, beta-reading, or coaching services, please contact me. I'll send you my services and fees outline and answer all your questions. I look forward to working with you.