Starting from a spark of an idea and arriving here with a story is already an extraordinary accomplishment!
MY BACKGROUND: I've been a copyeditor for more than 11 years, with nearly 70 books in my portfolio, including international bestsellers Simon Gervais and Manel Loureiro, New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby, and former Random House and Hearst powerhouse Howard Kaminsky. I specialize these days in thrillers and mysteries, but I’m open to just about everything. I’m a naturally curious person, so I enjoy the eclectic possibilities of editing all kinds of fiction.
MY PHILOSOPHY: On my business card, I included a saying from Arthur Plotnik that thrilled me when I read it because it perfectly encapsulates my approach: “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”
HOW I CAN HELP: There are algorithms that can spot misspellings or suggest a word and they’re helpful, but only a human can read for context—distinguishing between homophones or noticing any flawed logic, for example. That’s where I come in, identifying and quietly disarming any land mines in a manuscript.
Experience is important, because what you do is special. There are creative standards in fiction that don’t apply elsewhere. (For instance, ample leeway is allowed for fragmented sentences.) And it’s only through years of hands-on copyediting that I can carefully handle such subtleties, knowing when to leave something alone and when to modify it.
But rest assured, I’m not a failed writer looking to make my mark on your hard work. I’m an enthusiastic professional who has found an outlet for language skills beyond pointing to typos in ads or on storefront windows. I love what I do, and I’m constantly improving by attending classes, reading not only within my field but for pleasure, and participating in social media editing groups.
MY SERVICES: Copyediting is about making thoughtful adjustments—kicking aside what doesn’t quite work, tightening everything up, and eliminating errors and inconsistencies so a reader isn’t distracted, allowing them to absorb and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to convey. I understand it can be difficult to think about grammar and mechanics when you’re just trying to get a character from one place to the next. You were rightly concentrating on the creative process.
Now it’s time to relax and let me deal with the nitty-gritty. Here’s a breakdown of the sentence-level particulars I focus on (in U.S. English):
-Correcting punctuation, spelling, grammar, syntax, capitalization, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of your original text
---> Two things to note <---
1. I don't provide substantive/developmental editing, meaning "big picture" stuff: identifying and solving problems in the text regarding plot, story arc, timelines, characters, etc.; reorganizing or rewriting whole paragraphs, sections, or chapters; suggesting further topics…yada-yada-yada. All this should be addressed during an early editing stage, before it gets to me.
2. I don't work on horror or material that contains very graphic descriptions of violence; however, mentioning in the manuscript that such things have occurred is fine. (If you're unsure, feel free to ask me in an email.)
All work is strictly confidential and respected. I mean it.
ABOUT ME: After spending a huge chunk of my misspent youth in New York City, I moved with my husband and young son to Portland, Oregon, where it rains only half as much as I thought it would. Go figure. We also have two cats because…of course. I relish cracking open a good book (big surprise), listening to podcasts, rearranging my living room, watching movies, going for a mellow hike, and whipping up something in the kitchen, although it’s really more about eating. Am I right?
WHAT I'D LIKE TO KNOW: The more you say about your story, the more helpful it is for me to assess the job at hand. Some things to consider…
1. Word count
2. Point of view (first person, etc.) and tense
3. What genre(s) you think it fits into
4. Basic plot and setting
5. Descriptions of major characters
6. Target audience
7. What stages of editing it’s been through (beta readers, developmental editing, etc.)
8. What your strengths and weaknesses are
9. If there’s anything you’d like me to pay particular attention to
Let’s talk about your story and figure out how we can achieve your vision. I look forward to meeting you!
Copyedited student assessment tests for grades K–12 in all subjects, on hard copy
and in MS Word, using The Chicago Manual of Style and multiple style sheets customized for various school districts throughout the United States. Wrote original text or found and edited appropriate public domain material, replacing words and altering sentence length for complexity according to specific Lexile measures using Core’s CMS. Worked closely with content editors and art/production department to ensure precise requirements were achieved and delivered on schedule.
Core K12 acquired the K-12 division of The Princeton Review in early 2009.
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“Stunning.”– Crystal Book Reviews“It is amazing that Steven Manchester can take the same alphabet most of us use, create the same words most of us use, and arrange them so skillfully that they reach in and stir profound emotions in a reader. His ability to connect the reader with the characters’ deepest feelings, fears, hopes, dreams, and love is incredible.”– Long and Short Reviews“Once again... read more
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Three installments of the New York Times–bestselling series set in a land of enchantment filled with magic, surprises, adventure, and—best of all—puns! The world of Xanth is a wacky one full of offbeat heroes and surprising journeys. In these three volumes of this hilarious series, characters bumble their way through many misadventures to find their happy ending on the other side, aided and hi... read more
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The world's most thorough content editor. Expert in fiction and memoir. More than 70 books and 60 authors guided toward publication.