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My Writing
Writing & Editing Services

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It's really really difficult to edit your own work. You know what you want to convey, and the story you want to tell. Unfortunately, although the story is in your head, it doesnít mean it has translated to the paper. My mission as an editor is to support fellow writers in this solitary profession of putting words on the page, of telling a story, of showing images, of creating universes out of nothing. My "default mode" of editing: if I see something I feel needs to be corrected, I point it out so that the author can make the change (or I change it as an example). I want the book to be the best it can be, and I don't settle for mediocrity or "just okay" writing - and neither should you.

I will copyedit, proof-read, and edit for content, voice, inconsistencies, and plot holes. If you just need someone to make sure there are no typos, then I can recommend a great editor for that.

I have worked for individual authors as well as small publishers. My rates are very reasonable and negotiable. I know writers don't have much money, so I'm cognizant of that and work accordingly. But I also know that a well-edited book can be the difference between getting a book contract and ... well, not getting one.

For information on my writing and editing experience, download my CV PDF document and read praise from authors I've worked with. And then contact me to get started!

I developed the following guidelines for the Ozarks Writers' Block, a critique group I founded in Harrison, Ark. I continue to abide by these rules when I edit someone's work.

  • My concern is the craft of writing. What a writer says is his or her business; my job is to help you say it effectively.
  • I strive to be objective.
  • I critique the writing, never the writer. I never say, "You are..." or "You should..." Instead I say, "The writing is..." or "The story should..."
  • I donít make my comments personal. Put-downs and personal attacks are NEVER allowed.
  • I try to be specific rather than general in my comments. I give examples.
  • I always find something positive to say. Identifying the authorís strengths is just as important as identifying his or her weaknesses.
  • I am always honest and unapologetic. I won't argue over controversial content.
  • There are bound to be disagreements. This is good; we just have to keep it civil and a friendly debate.
  • I always remember that the subject matter is personal. I don't have to like a story or a topic to give it a fair critique.
  • I try to be aware of my biases and edit around them.
  • I remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. And I know that this is your baby, and it's hard to share your baby with someone else.
  • I let you know what I am feeling as I read your work. Do I feel sympathetic toward the heroine? Is the pacing too slow for my taste? This kind of feedback allows you, the author, to decide if those are the reactions you intended.
  • I try to share what works and what is good about the piece; and I try to share what doesn’t work and ways to “fix” any potential problems.
  • What do I consider potential problems? Passive voice (was, were; and this is a common issue with writers). Pacing. Character development. Inconsistencies (character names and place names, characters magically appearing in a scene or being there one minute and not the next), POV changes, and body parts doing things on their own.
  • I consider this to be a team effort - both of us working together to make sure your book truly conveys what you want it to.

Of course, I developed guidelines for the person being critiqued, too.

  • Realize that all writing can be improved.
  • If you donít want honest feedback, donít ask me to edit your work.
  • Check your ego at the door. If you are looking for a mutual admiration society, then my services are not for you.
  • If you want your writing to improve, you have to learn to accept constructive criticism. Itís nothing personal, and it doesnít mean youíre a bad person or a bad writer. (My career in journalism taught me this lesson rather quickly.)
  • Listen. I want to help you find ways to improve your work.
  • Share your weaknesses with me. If you have areas that you think need work, let me know so I look out for those items and help you improve in that area.
  • Refrain from defending your work, and donít be argumentative. Your writing needs to stand on its own. If it doesnít, fix it. You can probably explain away every comment I give you, but you wonít have that option when youíre trying to sell your work.
  • Be aware that all feedback is valid, even if you donít agree with it. (And I am willing to compromise.)
  • Be willing to make changes. Conversely, don't change anything you feel must remain in order to make the story - and the voice - yours.
  • Use the suggestions you find helpful, but donít feel bad if you donít use them all. Itís your writing; you donít have to make changes that make you uncomfortable.
  • Ask questions if youíre unsure about something. This is a two-way street - together, we may be able to find an even better way of saying something than we came up with individually.
  • Be aware of the time you are taking when we discuss your work. Stay focused on the topic of writing and your piece.

The header above shows a textbook I helped copy-edit while in graduate school, Mediated Women: Representations in Popular Culture, edited by Dr. Marian Meyers, Associate Professor of Communication at Georgia State University. (Note: the most recent version of the book is called Women in Popular Culture: Representation and Meaning). I also edited Big Black Book (1996), poems and lyrics by Edward Jett (photos of the book by Joe Boris photography).
Both included by permission.