I love helping other authors hone and improve their stories. Whether you write flash-length short fiction or epic fantasy sagas, I can catch plot holes, timeline inconsistencies, out-of-character behavior, idiomatic errors, misspellings, grammar and punctuation errors, and pretty much anything else that can (and does) go wrong along the road from first draft to final.
If you write memoir or other narrative non-fiction, I would be delighted to assist you with your project. I provide the same level of detailed editing as for fiction, and may be able to assist with fact-checking in some areas. While I do not offer research assistance, I always bring my background to the task. I am knowledgeable in many subject areas, including the US military (Army), education, linguistics, music theory, art history, pastry and culinary work, and woodworking.

What I edit:

Most anything really, but with exceptions (see below). Take a look through my client list to the right and you'll see everything from Grimdark zompoc thrillers to epic space opera. Within that spread of genres, the stories I've edited are universally character-driven, with an emphasis (from the writer) on creating vivid and sensory-rich storyscapes.

What I do NOT edit:

Gore for gore's sake, excessive graphic violence with no real connection to plot or character arcs, and anything that seems aimed only to make the reader squirm. Given the genres I do edit in, I've seen my share of awful things happening on the page. But I will decline any manuscript that I feel goes overboard on the unpleasantness - in other words, unless you can prove why the violence and gore needs to be there for the sake of the plot and character development, I'm going to pass. Just not my bag, baby.

I also refuse to consider anything written with the intent of pushing discriminatory agendas based in ethnicity, religious creed, or gender identity.

Rate Structure
Shorts up to 10K words
Longer stories, novellas, novels, and long form non-fiction
Developmental Consult
 Varies - see below
Substantive Editing
 Flat rate $75
 $12/1,000 words
Copy editing
 Flat rate $75
 $12/1,000 words
SFWA Members receive 10% discount
Active, veteran, retired US Military and immediate family receive 20% discount

Developmental Consult - I offer a 1-hour Skype chat or Google Hangout to discuss your novel and help develop themes, characters, and/or plot. During our conversation, I'll help you explore your main characters and their primary motivations. We'll talk about your ideas for the plot and sketch out a narrative arc for your main protagonist.

Authors wishing to schedule a stand alone consult (as opposed to in conjunction with a Substantive Edit or Copy edit) pay a flat rate of US$100 for the one-hour consultation.

A developmental consult is extended free to clients who commit to either a Substantive Edit or Copy edit, and also pay a retainer amounting to 10% of project costs based on a word count of at least 60K words (60 * $12 = $720 * .10 = $72). The retainer secures a set of dates on my calendar and the amount is applied to the total project costs.

Substantive Editing - Often referred to as content or structural editing, this is the heavy lifting work and the most enjoyable as well. It involves my looking at your manuscript (MS) as a work in progress (as opposed to a complete text). I'll give it a cold read and will return your MS with comments and an edit letter. I also offer an optional (and no charge) second read through of any new material or significant changes you make after receiving my feedback.

As I read, I'll note where characters act out of sync with how you've established them. I'll also point out where I feel the plot weakens and where you haven't been as clear as you could be with dialogue, description, action sequences, and scene setting. As an added value, I'll correct any errors of spelling, grammar, or punctuation that I come across, as well as any glaring issues of accuracy or authenticity with regard to my major areas of expertise (art history, US military weapons/tactics/protocols, linguistics). If I encounter recurrent errors of a particular type (over or improperly used ellipses, for example), I'll leave off marking them within the text, and will instead include a note alerting you to the issue.

At the end of the process, I'll return your MS to you with comments inserted. I'll also send along an edit letter in which I summarize my thoughts about the themes in your novel and how you support and/or need to shore up those themes. The letter will include summaries of mechanical issues I came across, including any recurrent errors, along with notes about characterization, plot, and description.

If you can't describe your major themes and can't point to instances in your MS that showcase those themes, then a Substantive Edit is what you're looking for. This is also the edit you'll want if you're beset with nagging thoughts about plot consistency and characterization, or if you find yourself asking friends to read your book and tell you if anything stands out.

Copy editing - This type of editing differs from its Substantive and Structural cousins in that when I receive your MS, I'm going to approach it as a complete text. This means you've been through a round of major edits already, or you've had enough beta reads or revisions of your own that you feel confident the story is cohesive. Issues of plot, theme, and characterization have been sorted out. And yet, while a reader could pick up your story and follow it from beginning to end, they might trip up on errors along the way or places where you wrote something in that simply doesn't work. Copy editing aims at ensuring coherence.

A key goal with copy editing it to smooth out the kinks in your prose. I focus on tuning your dialogue, so your characters sound consistent with their motivations. I also keep an eye out for echoing (repeated words or phrases that appear too near each other or simply too often throughout your MS). With descriptive passages, I'll pick out where your word choice falls outside the story world you've built, or where you've used metaphors that aren't consistent with that world either.

Additionally, I like to think of Copy editing as the "Mythbusters Edit." I'll fact check every instance of transportation data, explosions, stab wounds, gunshots, police procedure, legal entanglements, geographic information, and so on. The aim here is to ensure that no reader will fault you for writing the impossible or, worse yet, the inaccurate. Even in the realm of speculative fiction, it's vitally important that your readers believe what you're presenting, and readers these days are a savvy lot, indeed.

Copy editing is also of value to UK English writers and non-native English writers. For UK writers, I can help you fine tune your prose for a US audience, catching out idiomatic usage and supplying replacements that would sound appropriate for American readers. If English is not your first language, I can help you refine your prose and employ more native sounding idioms.

As with the Substantive Edit, I'll correct any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors I spot, and will return your MS along with a comprehensive edit letter containing summaries of my comments and any major issues that I come across. A copy edit also comes with the optional second read through of new material and/or significant changes.


If you're a fan of YA fantasy, fast-paced action thrillers, dark speculative fiction, and the occasional bit of grisly horror, please visit my clients' webpages below!
Colin F Barnes - author of high tech, high thrills adventure and suspense
Piers Platt - author of the Janus Group series
Jasper T Scott - author of epic space opera
Michael Roberston - author of sci-fi, dystopian, and apocalyptic fiction.

David Beers - author of character-driven horror-thrillers

Horace Brickley - author of American dark fiction

Nicholas Sansbury Smith - author of dystopic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Matthew Mather - author of high-tech, science-based apocalyptic thrillers
Darren Wearmouth - author of post-apocalyptic thrillers


"Thanks for the feedback. I just finished making edits last night, and your comments, as always, definitely pushed me to take the manuscript that extra mile. Tough, but worth it!" - Piers Platt, author of The Janus Group Series
"I'm convinced your editing feedback made the difference between 4 star reviews and 5!" - Jasper T Scott, author of Dark Space: Revenge
"Thank you for such an extensive job. I've been editing all day and many of your suggestions have gone in, making this a stronger book." - Colin F Barnes, author of the Code Breakers series.