I’ve been wanting to hang up a shingle as a writing coach for a while now. Not an editor, though I’m happy to work as an editor if that’s just what you need, but rather than just work on one project together, I want to work on your writing as a whole.
But it’s a hard thing to do to tell people who probably haven’t heard of you that you’re going to be worth their time and money. But then someone else came out and said my time is worth your money, so the timing worked out perfectly. I edited 88 for Five Rivers Press and Mike went on to land Donald Maass as his ideal agent, so I couldn’t be more pleased for him. He talks about his experience with editors here.
Ironically, I’m now a part-time freelance editor and I’m willing to help you get the book you want out of the book you have. 88 went through three substantial rewrites from start to finish. The gem of the story was there from the beginning, but editing is a two-way street. I can only tell the author what they should or could do. Mike was the first writer I ever worked with who was wholly invested in making the story better and not just making what was on the page the best it could be. I’m so proud of 88 now, and I couldn’t be more happy for Mike.
I work on big picture matters — plot, story, character, theme, tone, voice. I want an interesting character in an interesting world with an interesting problem. What I want in someone I’m want to help is a writer who has come to the realization that what they are doing right now may be good, but it can be better. I’ve noticed in all the critiques I’ve done that by the time a story gets past the third or fourth draft, the author can be exhausted by it, and being told that the story needs a rewrite will mean that they will never touch it again. Any advice given is going to be for the next book for them to keep track of as they’re writing, but the book, as it was presented, was in its final form.
And that’s perfectly all right. That’s why a writing coach is better than an editor. The coach will work with you, not the piece, to get you from getting to that point where you feel exhausted at ever touching a story again or keep starting new projects without ever finishing something.
If you think what you’re doing is great and just needs cosmetic changes, there are lots of people who can help you. I can help you, if we go into the agreement with the understanding that you do not want to change what is on the page, but you just want it to have better posture. What I’m really looking for are people who have gotten to the point where peer edits and writing groups present more problems than answers and are really ready to move to the next level of their craft. I can’t promise you a New York publisher (though to be honest, right now I’m 1-for-1) for your next book, but I will promise that you will see your story and writing a whole new way.