developmental editing

I believe that stories save lives. That they teach us how to survive this earthwalk and maybe even beyond.

I believe in the power of YOUR story – and I want to help you tell it as clear and true and strong as possible.

I’ve worked with a variety of writers over the years, from those just beginning to establish a writing practice to those with many books or plays under their belt.

I’m not here to FIX your story. I am here to help you see it’s true potential and to support you as you do the work of making it the best/strongest/truest tale you can. I would love the opportunity to get to know you and to ride along the river of life with you for a spell. 

I believe that the story belongs to the author and that their voice is not to be tampered with.

I believe that the work we do, the PRACTICE of writing is sacred, but the words on the page are not.  Meaning that we must be devoted to finding the strongest, clearest line to our reader’s heart.

My specialty is tapping into the voice of your characters and your story. It’s the voice that pulls the reader in and keeps them with you for the whole wild ride.

When our work together is done, I will send you off with the satisfaction of a job well done and a sense of sovereignty as the author of your own work and your life as an artist.

Soul Stories is about more than one writing project. It is about how you want to live in this world.

If you are devoted to doing the work to write deep and wide, then you’ve come to the right place.

If you are just beginning to explore the idea of hiring an editor, this is a great article to start with – What Is a Developmental Editor and What Can You Expect? Jane Friedman’s site is a treasure trove of resources for writers.

Here’s the nitty-gritty of what I offer:

Full developmental edit (Fiction/Memoir/Plays)

This is BIG PICTURE editing. It includes a close read and thorough analysis of your manuscript to seek out what works and what might still need some work.  I focus on the overall structure and content of your story seeking out any troubles with story elements like plot holes, poor character development, confusing dialogue, sentence phrasing, and any other issues that might trip up your audience.

This works well for writers with a completed draft who want to dive into revisions with some guidance on what is working and what needs work.  Also great for those who have been working on a book for a long time and find themselves lost in the weeds and those who have polished their sentences but feel they need to go back and rethink some big picture issues like structure or plot.

  • First pass – I will read your manuscript with fresh eyes and an open heart and bring you along with my journey through the story via marginal comments
    • Second pass – I switch over from reader heart to editor brain and look a bit closer at things like:
      • Structure – analyzing and making recommendations for cutting, moving or condensing text, filling plot holes, or otherwise improving the novel’s flow for the reader
      • Style/voice
      • Plot issues to do with logic and credibility
      • Character development and arc
      • Pacing, cause and effect, and the story engine
      • Scene dynamics and length and placement of backstory or exposition
      • World-building, setting and description
      • Identifying thematic elements—suggesting where/how they might be deepened in order to carry your story clearly and powerfully to the reader
    • Create a book map – that lays out the novel’s structure and plot and tracks anything else that calls out for tracking
    • Third pass – using the book map, I go back into the manuscript and any new insights gleaned
    • Then I craft a detailed editorial letter that gives my feedback and lays out specific recommendations for improving areas that need work, along with a suggested revision approach

I will deliver:

  • A lengthy (up to 20 pgs) editorial letter
  • Your manuscript heavily annotated with comments
  • A book map

We will also meet for a 60 minute Zoom meeting after you’ve had a chance to go over the feedback so that we can talk about it and I can answer any questions you might have.

Cost: Varies by manuscript. Estimate 4 cents/word CAD and up.

Simple Manuscript Evaluation: (Fiction/Memoir/Plays)

My process for manuscript evaluation is similar to the way I work for a developmental edit – but I don’t go as deeply into the manuscript. It is more of a surface pass.

Ideal for writers who are seeking some editorial feedback without investing in the expense or detail of a full Developmental Edit.

I will deliver:

  • What I call a “heart read” of your manuscript
  • A short (up to 5 pages) editorial letter
  • Your manuscript lightly annotated with comments

We will also meet for a 30 minute Zoom meeting after you’ve had a chance to go over the feedback so that we can talk about it and I can answer any questions you might have.

Cost: Varies by manuscript. Estimate 1 cent/word CAD and up.

How to begin:

Contact me to begin the conversation.

You can use my contact form to request one of the following:

Sample Edit

I offer sample edits to prospective clients free of charge. This is a way for us to see if we are a good fit and for you to decide if you would like to work with me.

I will:

  1. Read up to 10 pages and do a sample line edit (and or provide comments) on the first 2-3 pages.
  2. Deliver your annotated manuscript and a short memo that will:
    1. give you an overview of my thoughts on the pages I read
    1. suggest an editorial approach to your manuscript
    1. include a quote for my services if you choose to work with me

If I don’t connect with your work, or feel that it is not ready for editing, I will still provide you with my thoughts and suggestions, but I won’t make a proposal for us to work together.

Free consultation

If a Sample Edit doesn’t fit your project, I offer a free consultation (phone or zoom) to meet and discuss your project and how I might support you.

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