I've been on both sides of the writing fence for two decades, as an editor (with Certified Professional Editor designation from the Editors' Association of Canada) and fiction writer (with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing [novel]; I'm represented by the Donald Maass Literary Agency). That dual perspective has been useful while learning what makes for good writing. My primary goal is to help you strengthen your fiction writing, without trying to change your voice.
I offer a couple of levels of editorial services for fiction manuscripts:
- A manuscript evaluation or critique is a set of notes on the "big picture"; advice on strengthening your novel's plot, characterization, dialogue, and structure; this is ideal for early drafts!
- For completed manuscripts, I'd recommend getting the mechanics checked via a copy-edit, before you self-publish or submit to an agent, publisher, or literary journal. I'll review the punctuation, grammar, spelling, and formatting, to ensure all these elements are correct and consistent throughout. I'll also suggest changes to any awkward phrasing to ensure the language reads as smoothly as possible, without changing your particular writing style.
- I also provide free sample edits (usually 5 pages), so you can try before you buy!
Need help writing a website or back-cover blurb, or a query letter to agents or publishers? I can help with that, too -- I fully understand the agony of trying to distill a novel-length project into a paragraph! Sometimes you just need someone with an objective eye. I can create these elements from scratch, or polish your existing text.
You'll find more information about me and my editorial services at my website, vmbell.com. A selection of the books I have edited or worked on is shown in the Portfolio section, below. References and samples available on request.
I work as a copy and stylistic editor on medical and humanities pieces, helping to produce 50 issues of the journal per year.
I copy-edit and proofread technical reports on drugs and health technologies, for the public and for health care decision-makers.
I have more than 20 years' experience in structural editing, copy-editing, and proofreading documents in all areas, from novels and short stories to academic writing.
Book one in the Alexa Stone series. Beyond Alexa Stone’s miserable, hum-drum human existence, a battle to maintain the balance of the Elements has been waging for centuries. Unbeknownst to her, her fate does not include the small-town subsistence, thankless job, and uncaring foster family that make up her current life. She discovers, through the stranger Landon Knight, that the destiny she has... read more
Joaquin Bridger is a former soldier who settles in the town of Redwood, becomes a police officer, marries, and has a daughter. He and his family live there peacefully for ten years, and then tragedy strikes. His wife and daughter are killed in a confrontation with bank robbers, and he blames himself. He quits the police force and begins a wandering, aimless life around town, walking wherever h... read more
The dead body in the pool is putting a serious dent in Geoff’s morning. An ex-pat property manager on the Caribbean island of Bequia, Geoff doesn’t want a spotlight shone on the secret past he left behind in Canada, but now he’s the suspect in a brutal murder. With no help from the inept local police force, he’s drawn into investigating the murder himself, to clear his name. As Geoff finds out... read more
Darren Durant returns to Vancouver in 1988 after living in Tehran for three years and coping with the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, including nightly missile attacks. He is now determined to establish himself as a painter and find a dependable companion. He had traveled to Iran after an agonizing separation from his beloved wife, Erica. Even the sacrifice to abandon his artistic passion and work... read more
“Janitor” is a story about a man whose skin pigments happen to be predominantly black, who exists in Southern society before the advent of a kinder and gentler America. Although he is not treated with respect at his custodial job or in town, he is the embodiment of affability and graciousness. One day, something dramatic happens to alter the shameful attitude of his fellow citizens toward him.... read more
Danger and romance roll like thunder through horse whisperer Kat Bonner’s world, when a known felon comes to the ranch to drop a bomb about her past. Kat turns to Pierce for help; the same Pierce who bucks her every chance he gets, and whose feverish investigation lands them in trouble with the law and directly in the path of a serial killer. Mystery deepens, fraught with wrong turns, bumbling... read more
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Insightful, collaborative editing from an award-winning NYC editor with 10+ years experience, formerly of Penguin Random House.
Communicative editor who is scrupulous yet flexible. Experienced in crime/thriller, YA, mainstream fiction, and spiritual/self-help themes.