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“Everything is held together with stories…”

Barry Lopez

The world is full of stories, and humans love them. Your job as an author—whether you write novels, short stories, journal articles, government reports, poems, songs, or even mathematical equations—is to find the essential story in your material. 

My task as an editor is to help you to tell your story and to write with your readers in mind.

Stories are composed at the sentence, paragraph, chapter, and whole-document levels. There are editing techniques designed to address these different levels of writing craft, and each technique has its characteristic tasks and conventions. You’ll save time and money if you familiarize yourself with editing techniques before we work together.


if you are still not sure what your manuscript needs, we'll work together to identify them.

Copy Edit

Copy editing

Copy editing is sentence-level editing. Copy editors apply and interpret grammatical rules, ensure consistent use of names and terminology, and help you to achieve clarity in the details of your work.

Copy editors therefore have a sharp eye for detail. Did a character called Sara in Chapter 1 turn into Sarah in Chapter 3? Did the detective’s pistol morph into a revolver? 

When do you need copy editing?

You commission copy editing on a fiction manuscript after the story and plot are as good as you can possibly make them. In non-fiction, your ideas and arguments must be logically consistent and well-developed. If you're writing a research paper or report, your analysis must be complete. What remains is to correct grammar and polish those sentences so that the ideas they express come across clearly.

What you get if I copy edit your work

My copy-editing process typically takes manuscripts through a two-pass edit. The first pass deals with essential edits and corrections. The second pass (if needed) clears up queries and ambiguities.

You’ll get:

  • Sentence-by-sentence correction of grammar and usage

  • Editing for consistency of names, terminology, geography, and (if required) facts

  • Marginal notes to point out repetitions, inconsistencies, and ambiguities

  • A two-to-five-page editorial report summarizing changes and the resolution of queries

  • An optional style guide

Stylitic editing

Stylistic editing

Stylistic editing (also known as line editing) goes beyond copy editing's focus on grammar and diction. Stylistic editors smooth out awkward passages, break up run-on sentences, and ensure that stories are told with a consistent style and voice. 

When do you need stylistic editing?

Your story is told and the loose ends tied up. Nevertheless, you're left with the nagging feeling that your storytelling could be improved. Perhaps a Beta reader thought there were places where your writing did not “flow” or that your writer's voice lacked consistency. 

What you get if I do a stylistic edit

  • A revised manuscript, with deletions and new insertions color coded for clarity

  • Marginal comments to explain editorial decisions or query certain details of the story

  • A two-to-eight page editorial report that explains the stylistic choices I made, and which  recommends some general stylistic changes you might consider

  • An optional style guide

MS evalution


In fiction, a manuscript evaluation gives you a broad overview of your story and focuses on big picture issues of story, plot, and character. A non-fiction manuscript evaluation will focus on the logic of your narrative, the flow of ideas and concepts, and the strengths and weaknesses in your writing. If necessary, facts can also be verified.

When do you need a manuscript evaluation?

You’ll choose a manuscript evaluation when you know your draft needs work, but you don’t want to go into the expense and level of detail of a full-scale developmental edit.

What you get if I do a manuscript evaluation

  • A thorough read-through of your manuscript, with marginal notes and queries

  • A five-to-ten-page editorial report in which I detail the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript, along with suggestions for revision

  • Optional face-to-face Zoom meetings to brainstorm the revision process.

MS evalution
Developmntal Editig

Developmental editing

A developmental edit is a deep dive into your manuscript, in which you'll get the editor’s opinion on plot twists and holes, character development and dialogue, the order of chapters and paragraphs, and your story's overall arc and theme. 


If you’re writing non-fiction, a developmental editor will help you with manuscript organization, the flow of ideas and concepts, and the strengths and weaknesses of your writing.

When do you need a developmental edit?

You’ve written a draft, but you suspect it needs improvement, either because your inner critic is telling you this or because you got feedback from alpha or beta readers. You may have some ideas of how to revise your work, or you may feel stuck and unable to see a way forward.

What you get if I do a developmental edit

  • A thorough read-through of your manuscript, with extensive marginal notes

  • A detailed editorial report (some editors call it a letter) which details the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript, along with suggestions for revision

  • An optional book map in Microsoft Excel, which can help you see the big pictures of plot, pacing, and word counts for each chapter

  • The option for face-to-face Zoom meetings to brainstorm the revision process

  • An optional style sheet

The editorial report is the core product of the developmental edit. It could run from five pages for short stories or novellas to 20 pages or more for full-length books.  You'll refer to this document repeatedly as you revise your draft.

Note: I do not do developmental editing on academic articles or theses. This is a service that is restricted to fiction, general  non-fiction, reports, and academic monographs and books.

Academic and technical editing

Academic and technical editing are used for journal articles, theses, or reports for government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

Journal articles and theses

When dealing with journal articles or graduate theses, an academic editor will assume that essential research has been completed, and that the authors' conclusions are consistent with their methods and results. Editing will therefore be restricted to copy editing or stylistic editing. Under no circumstances do academic editors engage in original research on behalf of authors.

If you are a student, it is absolutely essential that you obtain written permission from your supervisor before working with an academic editor. You should also familiarize yourself with the Editors Canada guidelines for  the ethical editing of student texts.

Technical editing of reports

Reports may have special requirements for language, style, and technical terminology. Editors of such reports will pay attention to communicating with non-specialist readers using plain language principles. 

Academic monographs and books

The guidelines for editing journal article and theses generally apply to monographs and books. However, because books and monographs often synthesize large areas of knowledge, an academic editor may assist authors in organizing and framing their knowledge in a developmental edit.

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