It was such a pleasure working with Rachel. Not only did her edits and suggestions significantly improve my workbook, she patiently answered all of my questions and made the entire process a breeze. I’m already looking forward to working with Rachel on my next project!Cate Brubaker, PhD
I was repeatedly amazed at how you translated me! Your suggestions and corrections made the book more readable, more true to what I was often struggling to communicate… It’s a good story now, thanks to you. … I think we made a wonderful team. I had stories to tell, and you helped me tell them. Thank you for keeping my voice.Jenice McAlevy
Rachel is a fantastic colleague and a great person to work with. She brings ideas to the table on messaging and brand issues. She understands the mechanics of communications and she effectively executes against a plan.
She also produces high-quality written work product on a timely basis. Her ear for writing tone and sensitivity to her audience are near perfect, and she tenaciously fights to assure that work product is of the highest quality.Benjamin Geyerhahn
The art and science of editing.
Editing is both an art and a science. There are rules, of course. But some of the art is in understanding when to use them—and when it’s ok to break them.
Editing isn’t about what your high school English teacher taught you (and it’s very possible that things she insisted on are wrong). It’s perfectly fine to start a sentence with “and,” end with a preposition and even put a period at the end of a fragment. The beauty of the always-evolving English language is that you can shape it and make it yours—as long as the words you use, and the way you use them, make sense to your readers.
What I do.
I’m your biggest fan—and your readers’ strongest advocate. My job is to stay true to your voice—what makes your writing yours—while fixing errors and smoothing out any bumps or rough edges that could get in your readers’ way.
There are different kinds, and levels, of editing. I do a few—generally known as substantive (or structural/developmental), line (or stylistic) and copy editing. Depending on the state of the manuscript, it can be more efficient to separate the substantive and copy editing stages; we can talk about what’s best for you and your project, and why. Line editing is almost always included. I typically do the following when I edit:
Look at both the forest and the trees.
Keeping both the details and the big picture in mind, I’ll look at the overall structure and flow of the manuscript or piece of content. I edit mostly nonfiction, which is different in many ways from working with fiction. I’m not looking for a plotline, for example—but I am looking for a cohesive, coherent “story” that meets the expectations of the reader who’ll buy your book. This includes ensuring that the chapters work together in a logical order and the writing flows well.
Correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax.
I’ll fix any errors, and flag areas where sentence structure is awkward but not necessarily incorrect or where something doesn’t flow as smoothly as it should.
I’ll catch any changes in verb tense, point of view, names, descriptions or other details; if I see a gap, or anything that seems off, I’ll ask you about it.
Keep it real.
I believe in writing the way people talk. We use contractions. Ten-cent words instead of two-dollar ones. Active tense instead of passive. You have a personality and your readers are human—why would they want to read something that sounds like it was written by a machine? (This applies as much to businesses as to individual authors.)
Simplify complex concepts.
Sometimes people are so close to their subject that they inadvertently leave something out or take a shortcut in their explanation—because it makes complete sense to them. I’ll help ensure that what you want to say is all there and easily understandable.
Help your authentic voice come through clearly.
Some authors use words in a quirky, playful way. Others use short, choppy sentences to convey a tense mood—or weave long, tangled threads to create a different one. If repetition creeps in or sections get too wordy, I’ll pare them back so there’s nothing getting in your readers’ way.
These are the basics of any editing project. There may be more work involved, especially with a long manuscript or a large body of materials that have to work together and complement each other. Whether your goal is to inform, help, motivate or entertain, mine is to ensure that your message is clear, engaging and error-free.
I also edit content that’s been translated into English to make sure the final text is structurally and idiomatically correct. If you’re developing a website or other materials intended for an English-speaking audience, you need a trained, native English-speaking editor to review the content. Translations that don’t flow well or sound natural in English raise questions of credibility, and, depending on the kind of information you’re publishing, potentially even of safety and security. Have a professional editor look at the work.
Contact me now and let’s talk about your project. I look forward to working with you!
- EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association)
- Northwest Independent Editors Guild
- ACES: The Society for Editing
- ASBPE (American Society of Business Publication Editors)
- Bay Area Editors’ Forum