Once you have had your manuscript assessed, and have worked and reworked your manuscript to the best of your ability. It is time for a professional edit. This is a much more detailed process than an assessment. The editor now works closely with the nitty gritty of the text.

You may be concerned that editing will modify your writing style so you no longer recognize yourself. My aim is always to strengthen and enhance your voice, not to substitute my own. Your writing voice is unique to you and may take a while to emerge strongly. It is characterized by the particular words and images you choose and the rhythm and energy of your writing.

Editing takes out what is clumsy, weak or not working.
It is about refining and clarifying and using words precisely. It is about helping you to hone and polish your words, stripping away, paring back as the sea polishes stones.

I take out flab to increase tension and clarity. I may suggest alternatives if your words are tired, clichéd, or incorrectly used. I look at descriptions; do they work? Are they specific, precise and visual? Do the senses take the reader into the scene? Is your dialogue effective in moving the narrative along as well as revealing character, or does it ramble all over the place as real people do when they talk? I look at sentence length and the rhythm of your sentences. Simple is effective. But are your sentences so short they are jerky? Is your elegant and flowing prose sending readers to sleep?

  Is there too much literary excitement? Sometimes writers try too hard to find the different word, the unusual metaphor the gripping phrase. The prose becomes cloying. Instead of revealing it obscures. The reader risks choking or drowning. Sometimes the writer may need to be reminded that the reader does not need to admire your prose. The reader needs to be moved by your characters and their story. Really, the writer needs to be invisible. Good writing is the opposite of an ego trip.
No wonder Graham Greene said, ‘It is as difficult to write simply, as it is to be good.’ 

Perhaps this losing of the ego, this desire for direct and pure communication with the reader is the journey of the writer.

One for the writing road. One day I will find the right words and they will be simple.’ Jack Kerouac.

And from Sibelius, the Finnish composer:You must live through every note you write. And there must be no dead notes.’

It is the editor’s job to eliminate the dead notes clogging the music of your writing.

Fees: $95 per 3,000 words.

Contact Rose about Manuscript Editing

Here is an example of a writer trying too hard.
‘His old coat, now tattered and soiled, enshrouded most of him save for his wrinkled neck and head, itself wearing a face ruddied by too many unkind years. A pair of baggy and equally grimy trousers separated the coat from his derelict shoes, the left of which, having lost its lace, was held together by wire.’ (Excerpt from a published short story)

Sentimental phrases: ‘tattered and soiled’, ‘unkind years’.
Self conscious literary language: ‘enshrouded’, ‘save for…’.
Clumsy language: ‘itself wearing a face..’, ‘baggy and equally grimy’, ‘the left of which’, ‘trousers separated the coat from..’.

This writing is clumsy and cluttered. But there is one striking detail, the shoe held together by wire. That alone is a telling and unusual detail, indicating hardship and poverty. And there is no sentimentality, or authorial telling attached to it.

No two editors will revise this text in the same way. But I am sure they would rid the text of the above examples and the new version would be simpler, shorter and more powerful.

‘His face was red and wrinkled from constant exposure to the wind and rain. His coat was filthy and his trousers baggy. His shoes were dilapidated, the left one held together by wire.’


‘Thank you for the empathic and considered corrections you made to ‘The Pole’, my first chapter. As you say, it flows now and with your help I have been able to express my feelings with the experiences. The process and your company have given me a lot of joy, fun and laughter. Thank you.' Beatrice, ‘Memoirs’

‘Thank you for your thoughtful editing of a difficult manuscript and invaluable advice on the finer points of presentation. What an enjoyable collaboration.’
Jenny, ‘Birthwork’

‘I really do like what you have done with my manuscript, helping me find a coherent structure, tidying it up and calming me down, I mean the text. It was all a bit rampant wasn’t it!’
David, ‘Fun, Physics and Philosophy’.

‘I know I have a tendency to include far too much in a sentence and repeat myself. And there is so much material to deal with it becomes hard to sort it all out. You have helped me to cut through to the main argument and it has all become a lot clearer. You’ve also kept the tone I want, which is urgent, respectful of the reader and honest.’
Kathy, ‘The Bible Decoded’

‘Thank you for showing me how to create magic with my writing. It has been such a joy to work with you.’
Annie, ‘Walk it Out, A Kokoda Experience.


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