If as a writer your specialty is Christian non-fiction (biblical, historical, theological, pastoral, homiletical, ethical, devotional, or inspirational), or your literary bent belongs to one or more of the conventional non-fiction genres of biography, memoir, history, religion, or philosophy, then I may be able to assist you.
Both of us benefit at the outset from answers to two clarifying questions about your writing project: (1) What specific genre of Christian or conventional non-fiction are you working in? And, (2) which of the following types of editing best describes what you need now, and which ones possibly later?
• Stage One – Editorial Assessment: You've completed your first draft or several chapters. You want a different set of eyes to look at how you’re doing, providing you with an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses along with suggestions for improvement of structure, organization, style, tone, theme, character, voice, point of view, plot, dialogue, diction, and documentation. You want a bird's eye view of the big picture, including alternatives for capturing the reader's attention, involvement, and expectation.
• Stage Two – Developmental Editing: You've completed your unedited narrative and you're seeking a summary report of the entire project, with explicit recommendations for restructuring and development of the content, including deletions and additions, wording, phrasing, styling, thematization, plotting, characterization, notation, and documentation. You want an editor to apply a wordsmith's microscope to your text by paying close attention to all of the elements of the composition that need addressing during the author’s further revision.
• Stage Three – Copyediting: You are basically satisfied with the direction and substance of your completed manuscript, yet you need line-by-line, meticulous fine-tuning before you present it, or re-present it, to an agent or publisher, concentrating on the strengthening of prose, consistency of style, precise wording, grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, and the use of illustration, metaphor, and analogy. You want to obtain that highly polished version of your work deserving of public display in the bookstore window or distinctive medium in which you plan to publish.
• Stage Four – Proofreading: You're ready for the final inspection of the formatted and typeset PDF of your masterpiece, correcting last-minute spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors before it goes to print. (My proofreading service is limited to clients for whom I have performed developmental editing or copyediting.)
Whatever stage of editorial service I am able to offer you, I am personally committed to your achieving, with satisfaction, your best writing.
As a published wordsmith and editor I devote my developmental and compositional skills to assist you with crafting your book-length manuscript, article, or speech. I provide manuscript evaluation, developmental and content editing, copyediting, and proofreading.
From beginning to end we work in collaboration as a team. I maintain an open channel of communication with you as a valued client whose writing is of premium importance to me as your editor. I bring five decades of published writing and editorial experience to your project, and I welcome the opportunity to learn what you are passionate about writing.
My publications include the editing of George Buttrick’s Guide to Preaching the Gospel (Abingdon Press, August 2020) and authorship of Bone Dead, and Rising: Vincent van Gogh and the Self Before God (Cascade Books, 2011), a theological and psychological biography of Van Gogh’s life and art. My professional articles, biblical commentary and curricula, essays, and poetry have appeared in Pastoral Psychology, Theology Today, The Journal of Presbyterian History, Adult Discovery, Christian Education Shared Approaches, Presbyterian Outlook, Self Psychology News, and Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics.
I received a Bachelor of Arts in English, philosophy, and religion from Hampden-Sydney College; a Master of Divinity in biblical, theological, historical, and pastoral studies, and Master of Theology in the history of Christianity from Union Presbyterian Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. I served as pastor of Presbyterian (USA) congregations in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia; adjunct instructor of philosophy at Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, MI, and of philosophy and theology at St. Mary’s College, Orchard Lake, MI; a clinician with Pastoral Counseling Services of Central Virginia; and undergraduate professor of history and the Darrel Rollins graduate professor of pastoral theology, care, and counseling at Virginia University of Lynchburg. I live in Asheville, North Carolina.
“When things began to get a bit tangled in my mind, and I felt I was unsure of a clear perspective in evaluating the manuscript draft of my project, Charlie Davidson was able to show how it needed to be pulled together and reset in clear, revealing ideas and examples. He seems to be able to do this with ease. He has got it in him to provide editing that opens up all kinds of new, coherent, explicit language and structure, and his personal and professional support was critical for me in the successful completion of the book. I highly recommend him.” —Douglas Heidt, The Love That Will Not Let You Go: Being Christian Is Not What You Think
“Approachable, excellent writer, good listener; gets to the ‘kernel’ of the matter quickly; the glass is always half full, not half empty. When I had a writing project he was one to whom I turned for editorial advice. I found his suggestions most helpful and encouraging.” — Walter Smith, Learning to Forgive: A Memoir of Doubt and Faith
“Charles Davidson has done a masterful job of curating Buttrick’s lectures and of painting within the introductory biography a winsomely accurate picture of Buttrick in and beyond the pulpit.” — Theodore J. Wardlaw, president and professor of homiletics, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX, endorser of George Buttrick’s Guide to Preaching the Gospel
“George Buttrick becomes a teacher once again, not only through his own words, but through Charles Davidson’s biographical sketch and copious helpful annotations.” — John W. Kuykendall, president emeritus, Davidson College, Davidson, NC, endorser of George Buttrick’s Guide to Preaching the Gospel
“You don’t have to be a theologian or artist to appreciate this book. I know: I am neither, and I found it to be a masterful, compelling work that kept me turning pages and left me feeling enriched and enlightened. . . Davidson melds scholarship with elegant prose to produce a provocative portrait of the great artist. In an engaging, never-pedantic style, he sheds light on Vincent—the artist, the man, the minister, the brother, the lover. . . I felt inspired.” — Carol Cole, actor, reviewer of Charles Davidson’s Bone Dead and Rising: Vincent van Gogh and the Self Before God
“As much a volume of poignant poetry as of delightfully crafted prose. . .consummate and definitive scholarship that reads like a novel. . . Once you have taken up this volume it is impossible to put the book down. . . You will not wish to miss this.” — J. Harold Ellens in HTS Theological Studies, South Africa, reviewer of Charles Davidson’s Bone Dead and Rising: Vincent van Gogh and the Self Before God
“I had a lovely experience [as a guest contributor] participating in Charles’ blog, Life Turnings. He is a kind gentleman and a gifted editor. He knows how to apply just the right bit of polish to bring out the best in his writers’ works.” — Debra Wesselmann, Integrative Team Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children
“I worked with Charles when he was publishing Life Turnings as a regular blog [with guest contributors]. The value of engaging him as an editor is that he not only has good editing skills, but he is also supportive of the writer. So if you want a good editor who also cares about you as a person, I recommend you contact him.” —Stephen McCutchan, A Star and a Tear
Five decades of experience writing, publishing, and editing as a minister, psychotherapist, and professor.
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I have worked with indie book publishers and have written an award-winning humanities thesis. I specialize in commercial nonfiction.
Experienced editor and proofreader specializing in literature, academic, and non-fiction, worked as an English lit. professor for 15 years