Monday, March 9, 2009

Sole Proprietorship

I operate my business as a sole proprietorship and my speciality is developmental editing. My job is to provide guidance and guidelines for the beginning writer. I take the author's idea and help turn it into an interesting, well-written book, novel or memoir.

Before - Some authors come to me before they begin work on their first draft. I help them design a writing plan that will keep rewrites and revisions to a minium.

During - Other authors contact me during the writing process, often they're in the middle of the book and unsure which direction to take. I look at the idea and the organization of the events and I offer solutions on how to fix the problems.

After - Many authors have a rough first draft and no idea how to polish their prose. I'll read the book looking for holes and gaps and create a comprehensive plan for revision.

Unlike most developmental editors I edit on the page and prepare a multi-page Style Sheet. My speciality is the memoir.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Ever read the acknowledgement page of a book or novel. Books do not belong to one person. Authors routinely thank their writing buddies, critique group members, agents, editors and family members for supporting their efforts on the road to publication.

Monday, March 2, 2009

"Boil It Down"

A good editor is endlessly curious ... isn't afraid to ask questions ... cares deeply about readers and writers ... deplores mediocrities ...
loves words ... is opinionated ... can be stubborn ... knows how to listen ... knows when to revise ... is reasonable ... and knows how to make good stock.

A couple of years into my writing career I was sitting across the desk from an older woman editor who was considering my magazine article. "You need to boil this down," she said glancing up. I'm fairly certain that my reply was swift and professional and something along the lines of, "huh?"

Before I left her office that afternoon I had a better understanding of how and why I needed to edit better. Using cooking as the analogy she explained that writing well was a lot like making good stock. Stock is an essential ingredient in many dishes and is made by reducing the liquid (usually water) that meat, seafood, or veg tables are cooked in. What is left is a flavorful broth or stock that can be used for making sauces, gravy, soups or stews. The better the stock, the better the dish. I also had a copy of the poem "Boil It Down."

Boil It Down
(Anonymous )

If you've got a thought that's happy,

Boil it down.

Make it short and crisp and snappy,

Boil it down.

When your brain its coin has minted,

Down the page your pen has sprinted,

If you want your effort printed,

Boil it down.

Take out every surplus letter,

Boil it down.

Fewer syllables the better,

Boil it down.

Make your meaning plain.

Express it so we'll know not merely guess it;

then my friend ere you address it,

Boil it down.

Cut out all the extra trimmings,

Boil it down.

Skim it well, then skim the skimmings,

Boil it down.

When you're sure 'twould be a sin to

Cut another sentence into, send it on, and we'll begin to,


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