Editing Services Overview
As an empathetic editor, my goal is to improve your work in progress and help you become a better writer. I offer developmental editing services for completed novels and short stories as well as writing coaching if you're looking to develop your story concept prior to drafting your manuscript. To see if we're creatively compatible, I always suggest beginning with a $75 consultation on the project's first 2,500 words.
We can begin with an Initial Consultation on the project's first 2,500 words at $75.
Consultation (2,500 words)
First-time clients can receive a full developmental and copy edit for the first 2,500 words of their manuscript. Shoot me an email from my Contact form, and I'll let you know how we can get started. This service includes:
Developmental comments throughout your sample
A one-page editorial letter assessing the opening's strengths and areas for improvement
Grammatical corrections and style suggestions with comments explaining these changes
Two thorough editing passes
Curious to know what readers will think of your novel? I'll give you my honest feedback in a ten-page editorial letter that provides:
An analysis of the novel's overall strengths and weaknesses
Suggestions for improving the characterization, plot structure, pacing, narrative voice, and world-building/setting
An examination of the potential audience and marketability
A guide to correcting the general patterns of grammatical and stylistic errors found within the manuscript
A developmental edit provides solution-oriented, big-picture feedback, including:
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 grammatical and stylistic errors
"Write Your Damn Novel" Private Coaching
If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but you haven’t gotten around to finishing one yet, this private coaching package was designed for you! In four sessions (one per week) via video, phone, or live text chat, I will work with you to flesh out all those ideas in your head and pave a clear path forward. Here’s how it works:
For each round, I will present a list of questions about your story idea.
Once you answer them, I will provide feedback and follow-up questions.
Once we confirm the path forward, we'll move on to the next round.
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.
I want to spark or reignite your passion for your work in progress. Writing a novel is hard work, and sometimes we need a voice of encouragement and a sense of direction to help us finish what we start. I will be your sounding board, your brainstorming partner, your biggest fan—the person who cares as much about your story as you do.
“Rare is the person who can make you better without tearing you down first. Diane is one of those people. I have worked with multiple editors in the past and many of them care only about what is on the page. Diane cares about you as an author more than a client with a manuscript. She does what I lovingly call the ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ approach. She starts with warm comments and compliments about your work that feel all chocolatey and soft, and ends with an equally soft and smooth suggestion on how to fix the problems. The middle, though? That’s cold hard truth on what is wrong with the writing to help you learn and deviate away from the same mistakes. And between those things it’s just the right amount of care mixed with candor to take your writing from good to great. She'll make you a better writer, and you won't feel like less of a person for not being one to begin with.”
“I've tried over 30 novel editors. Some of them were better than others. But none was as exquisitely consistent in their quality as Diane. Her attention to detail is relentless. But attention to detail is nothing without a flair for good writing—she also has that in spades. To make her even more rare and precious, she's one of the most story-savvy people I know; I've become addicted to her insight, hearty humor, and analytical powers. Yes, when it comes to Diane, I can’t help but overwrite, be florid, and purplishly compliment. I'm writerly smitten!”
- Matthias Garrido (2019)
“I am a new writer, just investigating my potential. Because I tend to be methodical, I've sampled five or six editors. When I discovered Diane, I knew enough to ask specific questions. We started with an introductory Zoom meeting where Diane listened to my questions and respected the research I'd previously done. She then proposed a unique plan that was exactly what I wanted. Diane has edited one complete novel, one proposed novel, and two children's picture books for me. In each case she communicated the timeline I could expect and delivered detailed responses to all components of the manuscript. What I respect most from Diane is her truthfulness in giving me an accurate list of strengths and weaknesses along with professional writing advice. Diane believes in all of our ability and she will never stop encouraging us to write.”
- Dwight E. (2020)
”I had a great experience working with editor Diane Callahan developing an outline for a novel idea that had been haunting me for years! I am so grateful with how robust, consistent, and structured my novel outline has become with her guidance, detailed notes, and literary insights. Thanks to Diane's coaching, I now feel more confident and inspired to write my novel.”
- Camilo B. (2021)
“Diane has helped me more with my writing than anyone else I've ever worked with. She's provided critique, encouragement, and enthusiasm for my work at every level, from individual word choice to plot development, and even helped me understand the publishing market for my genre better. She never hesitates to offer honest feedback, yet also doesn't try to wrest the story from the author—she enhances rather than eliminates your style as a unique, individual writer. You can't do better than her for an editor, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that without her, there's no way I would have gotten my novel in the shape it needs to be to query.”
- David Dixon (2019), author of The Damsel
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 independent publishing companies, as well as creative writing and copy editing projects. You can check out the long version on my About Me page.
What's developmental editing?
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 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.
Uhh, what's this "Write Your Damn Novel" thing?
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 2,500 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?
How will I pay you?
Payments can be made through PayPal or by check. Invoices will be sent through email.
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.