After a long career of teaching creative writing and leading writing workshops and clinics, editing a magazine, and writing ten books – a memoir, three novels, five non-fictions and Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting for Writer’s Digest Books – and hundreds of columns I now enjoy working directly with individual writers of both fiction and nonfiction, including memoir and history (no poetry).
There are a couple of ways to go about this: 1) a thorough reading of your manuscript and a detailed follow up report of its potential and some general recommendations or 2) a much more extensive analytical process involving margin notes, word choice recommendations, shifting of paragraphs or sentences, deletion of clutter, and much more.
After seeing a detailed outline or plot graph of your project and five to ten completed manuscript pages (the beginning of the book is most helpful) I will contact you and you can determine the best path forward. This initial consultation is free; I charge fifty dollars an hour for all services after that. I keep precise records, noting date and time, of the exact hours I spend on a given project.
If it’s general suggestions based on a thorough reading that you’re after, an average length book (seventy to ninety thousand words) will take me something like ten to fourteen hours. When I’m finished I’ll write a detailed report in which I’ll offer general recommendations regarding plot, flow, characterization, and the other inner workings that make writing and storytelling work. I’ll also, of course, be available to answer any questions you have via email or over the phone.
More detailed attention to your book – involving specific recommendations and margin notes regarding plot, characterization, pacing and word choice suggestions – will take more than double the time (depending on how much needs fixing) required for a simple reading and review. If you opt for this more detailed review you should know that I am a line editor, not a copy editor. Copy editors are generally assigned by publishers to get a manuscript in shape to go to press. The New York Book Editors website differentiates between line and copy edits in this way:
“A line edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level. But the purpose of a line edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors (which is the specific task of a copy edit) – rather, a line edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Is your language clear, fluid, and pleasurable to read? Does it convey a sense of atmosphere, emotion, and tone? Do the words you’ve chosen convey a precise meaning, or are you using broad generalizations and clichés?” (nybookeditors.com)
Neither am I a literary agent, and I don’t have any connections with agents other than my own (who doesn’t take new clients) so assisting you in placing your finished manuscript is not something I can help you with. However, I can be of assistance when you compose your query letter to prospective publishers and/or agents, arguably the strongest writing you’ll have to do since it will either open or close the door for you.
If I agree to take on your project I assure you I will work diligently to help bring it to fruition as the best book you intend it to be. I’ll be straightforward regarding what I think needs to be fixed and will point out the strengths and the weaknesses of the story and the writing. For a simple reading of a manuscript followed by my report on its potential and suggestions an electronic copy is fine, as long as it is transmitted double-spaced in 12 point font as a Word document with the pages numbered. For edits I’m old fashioned, and work much more comfortably and effectively with a hard copy of a manuscript than an electronic version. That way I can make notes within the text and in the margins. So if we move forward you’ll need to get a copy to me (either loose leaf or bound) with an enclosed mailer with prepaid postage so I can send it back to you, marked up, along with a copy of my report which will also be sent via email.
I love working with writers. Whether your book is so far just an outline and a few pages or is completely finished – or anywhere in-between – I look forward to hearing from you.
I’m also available to work with shorter pieces of writing, anything from short stories and articles to advertising copy and business reports. I do not work with students on essays for class or on college entrance or scholarship essays, but am available to proofread graduate level theses and dissertations for clarity, usage and mechanics but not for the validity of facts or subject matter.
I conduct writing clinics of one, two or three days that I call “Wordsmithing 101” for a set fee and travel expenses. If your writing group is interested in more details please contact me.
Here’s how to reach me:
Phone: 979-236-3695 (Leave a short message and callback number.)
or send it via snail mail to:
Ron Rozelle 108 Poinciana, Lake Jackson, TX 77566