Dionne McCulloch

Dionne McCulloch - Editor

Editor and story doctor specializing in developing your voice and shaping your story so it engages readers. US and UK markets

Request a quote

Overview


As a writer myself, I know how isolating a writer’s journey can be. We all need an experienced advocate in our corner offering support, expertise and guidance. As an editor, I have nurtured authors from first timers to professionals and know that as your confidence grows, your voice strengthens and your writing improves.

I will help you see where your writing excels and build on that, create vital, engaging characters with powerful motivations and desires, and improve your writing techniques. I'll teach you to fine tune your story's pacing and tension and help you write character-revealing dialogue that advances your plot. I can shape your lumpy first draft into a book that engages from page one, or polish your manuscript sentence by sentence until it shines.

**I provide free assessment of your 1-page synopsis (for developmental edits) or free copyedit of first 3 pages (for copy edits).**

I've been a judge for two international novel awards, a PitchWars mentor, and I currently work as an editor for a UK literary consultancy. My agent is at Writers House, in New York City.

My previous career was as a documentary TV producer, and I hold a degree in Broadcast Communications. I am an advocate for a free, healthy, public library service and run the Save Bath Library campaign.

Fun fact! I also edited speeches for President Clinton.

Feedback from clients:

“Dionne is a wonderful mentor. She was both supportive and insightful, creating a safe space to talk about some difficult issues I was facing in my writing, and then helping me to draw out the central themes and to dig deeper into what was at stake for my characters. Dionne's feedback helped me to approach and think about my writing in new ways.”
--Zoe Lambert, author and lecturer in Creative Writing, Lancaster University, UK.

"Dionne provided me with a windfall of helpful feedback on my novel, including ways to improve characters, plot, theme, and where to clean up the language on the line level. She also referenced examples for every major point so that I knew exactly what she was talking about. Most importantly, after reading her feedback I agreed with almost everything she mentioned, which to me showed how tuned in she was while she was editing. Most of her comments, I thought, were not subjective. She gave me objective ways to make my work better."
--Ben Orlando, author and English Professor, George Mason University, USA

“I have found Dionne to be an excellent editor. She is creative, rigorous, and collaborative without being intrusive. She has helped me to gain clarity in my narrative and has given me the encouragement I needed to finish my book. I highly recommend her.”
--Sheila Hawdon, literary writer.

“Dionne was incredibly helpful, striking the right balance between being critical and encouraging. I was immensely grateful for the guidance on tone and on making the writing 'appear' rather than just being purely descriptive. Dionne was also very sensitive in recognising that, unlike pure fiction, biographical work is very real and very personal. Overall, just what I needed- firm but sensitive guidance”
--Charlie Kiss, memoirist, A New Man.

"Working with Dionne I found her nothing short of miraculous. Very friendly and professional. Her ability to draw out the real depths of your story and bring it to life with important details is amazing . Dionne is very honest, will always encourage and teach ways to self-improve, advising if something doesn’t work. I will definitely work with her again and would highly recommend her."
--Julie Smallwood, thriller writer.

"Simply put, Dionne is inspiring and brilliant. My novel is transformed, a superb mentor. Five big stars!”
--Frank Conway, literary author.

"As a fellow editor, author, and co-mentor in Pitch Wars with Dionne, I would highly recommend her as one of the best editors that an author could have the pleasure of working with. She has an amazing ability to draw out the core emotional gut of a story, find the plot's backbone, and teach a writer how to implement a myriad of skills for their future books. Her enthusiasm, dedication, professionalism, and ability to see the big picture as well as the fine detail is an editing package not often found. If you're looking for top quality, you've found it in Dionne. I'd endorse every book she's worked on without hesitation."
--Fiona McLaren, author and professional editor.
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
African American Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Literary Fiction
Romance
Thriller & Suspense
Women's Fiction
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
LGBTQ Non-Fiction

Work experience

Editor

1 x UK literary consultancy and 2 x US literary arts agencies
November, 2015 – Present (over 6 years)

Mentoring authors by providing one on one mentorships primarily in novel development (early drafts), providing in-depth editorial reports and copy editing manuscripts.

Member, Advisory Board

Paper Nations
October, 2019 – Present (over 2 years)

Member of the Creative Advisory Group for Paper Nations, an initiative to further creative writing across the UK.

Writer, Editor

Bath Spa University, Paper Nations
March, 2018 – Present (about 4 years)

Writing and editing case studies, web site, and materials for publication for a UK-wide creative writing program run by Bath Spa University.

Mentor

PitchWars
November, 2014 – November, 2017 (about 3 years)

Mentoring winning authors through submission to agents for the US writing contest.

Judge

Bath Novel Award
March, 2014 – November, 2017 (over 3 years)

Reading for short list and long list of Bath Novel Award and Children's Bath Novel Award since competitions' inception.

Portfolio (17 selected works)

The Liar's Chair

Rebecca Whitney

Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business... They have everything. However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack. Destroying all evidence of ... read more

Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business... They have everything. However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack. Destroying all evidence of ... read more

Testament

Kim Sherwood

Precocious

Joanna Barnard

'Can there be a more unreliable narrator than a teenage girl?' Fiona Palmer is (un)happily married when a chance meeting with her former teacher plunges her headlong into an affair. Intercut with the realities of their adult relationship, Fiona remembers first meeting the enigmatic Henry Morgan as a precocious and lonely fourteen-year-old. Her schoolgirl crush developed into an intense relatio... read more

'Can there be a more unreliable narrator than a teenage girl?' Fiona Palmer is (un)happily married when a chance meeting with her former teacher plunges her headlong into an affair. Intercut with the realities of their adult relationship, Fiona remembers first meeting the enigmatic Henry Morgan as a precocious and lonely fourteen-year-old. Her schoolgirl crush developed into an intense relatio... read more

Baby Doll

Hollie Overton

When Sally comes marching home (Sally Honeychurch Book 1)

Richard Milton

In 1945, World War II is ending. For Major Sally Honeychurch the war is just beginning.Major Sally Honeychurch has spent two years as an agent behind enemy lines. Now the war is over, the women who risked their lives are no longer needed. Sally is back in civvy street, haunted by the French Resistance lover who died in her arms. When terrorists smuggle an atomic bomb into London, The Head of M... read more

In 1945, World War II is ending. For Major Sally Honeychurch the war is just beginning.Major Sally Honeychurch has spent two years as an agent behind enemy lines. Now the war is over, the women who risked their lives are no longer needed. Sally is back in civvy street, haunted by the French Resistance lover who died in her arms. When terrorists smuggle an atomic bomb into London, The Head of M... read more

No Be From Hia

Kalulu Banda, Natasha Omokhodion-

The Liar's Daughter

Peterson, Megan Cooley

On the Border

Davies, Cari

Dionne has 29 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

veronica miller
Dionne is very encouraging of you as a writer. She provides good advice and sign post you to books to help you develop your writing skills. I felt proud when I finished my book, knowing that there is a book in me worth writing. Thank you Dionne

veronica miller, May 2022

Dionne McCulloch
I've loved go see you grow as a writer and find confidence to tell your story. You've also taught me a lot. Best of luck with your writing, Veronica!

Reply from Dionne McCulloch


joe underwood
I worked with a dev editor on this project before I hired Dionne. My dev editor was fabulous. I wanted a fresh look. I was extremely disappointed with her work. It made me feel she was in over her head.

joe underwood, March 2022

Dionne McCulloch
I'm sorry you weren't happy with your query letter and synopsis, Joe. Happy to chat it through with you further if you want.

Reply from Dionne McCulloch


Tsvi Jolles
Great collaboration.

Tsvi Jolles, February 2022


Johannes W
Extremely grateful for your support and guidance. Means a ton.

Johannes W, February 2022

Dionne McCulloch
You're most welcome Nick. Best of luck with your submissions and keep me posted!

Reply from Dionne McCulloch


Nathan McDougal
It was a pleasure to work with Dionne on this project. She was professional, patient and flexible. This was my first time submitting a manuscript to an editor and I must admit I was intimidated by the process, but Dionne made every step an enjoyable learning experience. In a relatively short time, I not only learned a ton, but my writing greatly benefited from her insight and feedback. I kn...
Read more

Nathan McDougal, February 2022

Dionne McCulloch
Thank you, Nathan! Lovely working with you and your fantastic story.

Reply from Dionne McCulloch

Read more reviews

Explore the Reedsy Community

Reedsy is a community of top publishing professionals. Join Reedsy today to browse 1000+ profiles.

David Bamford

Editor with nine years of professional experience working across literary fiction and non-fiction, formerly at Little, Brown UK.

London, UK

Julie Artz

Detail-oriented developmental editor specializing in MG/YA, fantasy, and memoir whose clients write for both the Big 5 and indie markets.

Redmond, WA, USA

To view 1,000+ more profiles, Join Reedsy