Frequently Asked Questions
What's your professional background?
Here's the short version: I have a Bachelor of Arts in Honors English and psychology, with minors in creative writing and professional writing, from The Ohio State University. For over seven years, I have worked in numerous editing and writing positions, with my most recent positions involving developmental editing and plot outlining for an independent publishing company, as well as creative writing and copy editing projects. You can check out the long version on my About Me page.
What's copy editing?
Copy editing involves correcting typos and grammatical errors. It also includes style changes, such as eliminating wordiness within individual sentences, reducing the repetition of ideas across paragraphs, and providing more interesting word choices. Although I no longer offer copy editing as its own service, my full developmental package includes light line edits to help elevate your prose to the next level.
What's developmental editing?
Developmental editing examines the big picture: characters, plot, pacing, believability, and world-building. As an editor, I provide concrete suggestions for improvement. Rather than simply stating, “The pacing is slow here,” I will point out which parts of the scene could be cut and explain why. After I review your entire manuscript, you will receive an editorial letter detailing your manuscript’s strengths, weaknesses, audience/marketability, and general patterns of grammatical errors.
- Developmental comments within your manuscript
- Light line edits (this is not a substitute for copy editing)
- Chapter-by-chapter revision list identifying potential problems and solutions
- Fifteen-page editorial letter assessing the novel's strengths/weaknesses, plot, pacing, characterization, themes, audience, marketability, and general patterns of grammar/style errors
How do we get started with the editing process?
I usually begin with a consultation, wherein I provide suggested revisions and feedback for the first 2,000 words of your manuscript. If we are creatively compatible, then we can further discuss your goals and timeline for the project, before initiating and signing a written contract.
How will we communicate?
My preferred method of communication is email (firstname.lastname@example.org). However, for discussions after a developmental edit, we can chat over the phone or through a video chat on Skype or Zoom, depending on your preference.
How will I pay you?
Payments can be made through PayPal or by check. Invoices will be sent through email.
How long will it take you to edit my book?
It depends on my current schedule. Assuming an open schedule, a developmental or copy edit of an 80,000-word novel will take three to four weeks. If you would like both a developmental and a copy edit, it will likely take six to eight weeks. I always aim to be careful and considerate in my edits, so I may require extra time to provide a high-quality revision.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Embrace feedback as part of the writing process. Whether it comes from a professional editor or a critique partner, don’t let constructive criticism drag you down. When you first receive a marked-up manuscript, you may feel a hit to your self-esteem and think that you’re not cut out to be a writer. But you are a writer, by virtue of writing. Don’t equate criticism with rejection. Let it inspire you to improve and motivate you to revise, revise, revise.
What does your short story critique involve?
If you have a short story draft, you're probably looking to polish it before submitting it to literary magazines or publishing it on your website. My short story critique analyzes all aspects of the writing craft:
- Developmental comments throughout the story
- A one-page editorial letter assessing the story's strengths and areas for improvement
- Grammatical corrections and style suggestions
- Two thorough editing passes
Uhh, what's this "Write Your Damn Novel" thing?
This is my private coaching package for writers who have always wanted to write a novel but haven't gotten around to finishing one yet. In four sessions (one per week), I will work with you via Skype or email to flesh out all those ideas in your head and pave a clear path forward. I want to spark or reignite your passion for your work in progress. I will be your sounding board, your brainstorming partner, your biggest fan—the person who cares as much about your story as you do.
- For each round, I will present a numbered list of questions about your story idea.
- Once you answer them, via email or video chat, I will provide feedback and ask follow-up questions.
- Once we confirm the path forward, we'll move on to the next round and repeat.
- After all four rounds, I will give you an organized document of what we’ve discussed, including a tentative plot outline, character notes, and a writing schedule to help you complete your first draft within a year.
ROUND 1: Big Picture
- Your personal goals
- Genre, audience, length, POV, style, working title
- Main conflict
- Major character arcs and motivation
- One-sentence log line
ROUND 2: Set Pieces
- Setting and world-building
- Minor characters
- Five major plot points
ROUND 3: Skeleton Outline
- Chapter-by-chapter outline (core ideas)
- Plot twists, reveals, suspense, and tension
ROUND 4: Writing Plan
- First line and opening scene
- Writing schedule
- Personal inspiration, resources, and routines
What's a manuscript assessment?
My manuscript assessment is a more affordable version of a developmental edit. While it doesn't include document comments or light line edits, it does give you my honest feedback as a reader through a ten-page editorial letter assessing the novel's strengths/weaknesses, plot, pacing, characterization, themes, audience, marketability, and general patterns of grammatical errors.