If as a writer your specialty is Christian non-fiction (biblical, theological, historical, ethical, homiletical, pastoral, devotional, or inspirational), or your literary bent belongs to one or more of the conventional non-fiction genres of biography, memoir, history, or religion, 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) In what specific genre of Christian or conventional non-fiction are you writing? (2) Which one of the following types of editing best describes what you need now, and which ones possibly later? I provide manuscript assessment and developmental editing services.
• Stage One – EDITORIAL ASSESSMENT: You've completed your outline and first draft and want an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses along with suggestions for improving structure, organization, style, tone, theme, characterization, voice, point of view, plot, dialogue, diction, documentation, and how best to retain your readers' attention and involvement. You will receive an analytical report with concrete recommendations. The assessment process concludes with a discussion of the various aspects of the report.
• Stage Two – DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING: You've completed your first draft and want a comprehensive report with explicit recommendations throughout the manuscript for potential restructuring and redevelopment of aspects of the content and its presentation, including concept, theme, theses, timeline, argument, evidence, transitions, conclusions, documentation, style, voice, dialogue, diction, plot, and characterization. The developmental report addresses elements that you may want to consider when revising your text. A follow-up review of your revisions with additional recommendations is optional by amending the contract.
• 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. Although I do not offer a copyediting service, Reedsy's marketplace lists highly qualified copyeditors.
• 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. Although I do not offer a proofreading service, Reedsy's marketplace lists highly qualified proofreaders.
As a published wordsmith and editor I devote my analytical, evaluative, developmental, and compositional skills to assist you with crafting your book-length manuscript, article, or speech. Whether you need preliminary assessment of your manuscript or thorough and detailed developmental and structural recommendations for each chapter of your book or section of your article, I am personally committed to working with you to achieve, with satisfaction, your best writing.
As part of the preliminary contractual process we first get acquainted via a Zoom interview. This enables us to get a sense for being a good fit for one another. I may ask you to submit additional material for my review, beyond the sample that accompanies your initial inquiry. Once the nature and scope of the project is agreed upon, you then receive my offer of a price estimate based upon my current fee schedule for the stage and extent of editing as well as the timeframe. I work on a per-word and/or hourly basis, depending upon the nature, depth, and complexity of the project. Please note that I edit academic theses and dissertations for publication only after the degree has been granted.
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 as a writer.
My publications include George Buttrick’s Guide to Preaching the Gospel (Abingdon Press, August 2020) and 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
"I wish to thank my editor, Charles Davidson, for the amazing way that he has walked with me, encouraged me from the very moment he set eyes on the manuscript, has helped to broaden and deepen my writing, and has believed in this project from the beginning of our work together. Charles gave the confidence to me that I needed to launch this project and was just the editor I needed to do so. I will be forever grateful." —Conrad Kanagy, a Reedsy client, from the acknowledgments, A Church Dismantled, A Kingdom Restored
"Working with Charlie has been a joy. From the start, he showed incredible interest in my manuscript. His edits were clear and his investment in my work was beyond expectations. It would be a pleasure to work with him again on my next project. I highly recommend Charlie to anyone seeking a premier editor." —Lumi Nichols, a Reedsy client
“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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Experienced editor with two degrees in editing and publishing and experience publishing academic works, historical fiction, and memoirs.
Highly experienced Project Editor and Proofreader specialising in Christian books and children's picture books.