editing | writing | development

Editing

The Latin word for edit is edare, which means “to bring forth.” This is how I think of editing: not as critiquing or correcting, but as helping to bring forth the meaning and spirit of a communicative project, thus enabling a stronger connection between writer and reader. You can find more of my thoughts on editing here.

I work on written projects for all ages, fiction and nonfiction, and offer a range of editorial services, described below. After talking with you about your project, I will create a custom proposal that suits your unique needs. My rates are based on the standards set by the Editorial Freelancers' Association. 

MY EDITORIAL APPROACH

Depending on what services you're interested in, these will be my priorities when I work with you:

Understanding your aims: My first priority is always understanding what you, the creator, want to communicate. A writer myself, I have great respect for the creative process. I've witnessed again and again that the best work tends to come from a blend of uninhibited creativity and good, thoughtful conversation. Talking with writers about their work is one of my favorite parts of my job.

Reading smartly: An editor is essentially a professional reader, someone who bridges reader–writer perspectives. I have honed my reader's intuition of what's working and isn't working (and why), and am skilled at evaluating how your piece may come across to its audience. I also bring to my work an awareness of the current publishing world, allowing me to advise you on marketability, age-appropriateness, and other considerations. 

Encouraging your best work: I have an innate determination to strive for the best. As your editor, I will encourage you to reach your work's highest potential, from its structure to its sentences. If needed, I will suggest ways to improve your piece that are consistent with your unique voice and vision, and encourage you toward solutions that feel right to you.

Letting you be you: I consider it critical to remain aware of my own context as a person, lest I impose any subconscious cultural or other biases on your work. If needed, I will suggest ways to improve your piece that are consistent with your unique voice and vision, and will encourage you toward solutions that feel right to you.

Seeking precision: When copyediting, I ensure that modifiers point to the words they modify, that participle phrases are anchored to their subjects, that pronouns relate clearly to their antecedents, etc. I also pose questions that challenge you to be more precise in your words, descriptions, and explanations. 

Attending to the details: Over the years The Chicago Manual of Style has become a well-worn groove in my brain—no joke, I have dreamed about the hyphenation table! I'm a perfectionist when it comes to consistency, and when proofreading can be counted on to spot the small stuff—the pesky non curly quotation marks, the misplaced accents, the wrong fonts. I am especially attuned to design issues and the relationships between text and images.

Having a good time: I believe that creative engagement, playfulness, and good humor are conducive to good work. I like getting to know the people I work with, and will try to make our process of working together enjoyable.

Services for Publishers, Organizations, and Educators

I edit at all levels, from developmental editing to copy editing to proofreading, and for all formats, including books, brochures, and websites. I also offer project/content assessments and consultations, including for educational curricula. Other services for publishers and organizations include:

FACT CHECKING

Most would agree that fact-checking is a necessary task. Publishers and organizations often rely on authors to do it, but authors don't always know that—and both authors and in-house staff can overlook errors after reading a piece many times. Like proofreading, fact-checking may be best hired out to a neutral and fresh-eyed party, and I'm happy to be that person. 

VISUALS RESEARCH, DIRECTION, AND PERMISSIONS

As an in-house editor, I helped direct illustration and design, and sourced art, photographs, and other visual documents for both adult and children's books. Whether you're in need of visuals to illustrate a book, website, or other communications, I can help you at all stages of the process, including research, permissions negotiation, and caption writing. 


Services for Individuals

Every project is unique, and therefore these services may vary according to your needs. Please scroll below to read about the process for working together.

ASSESSMENT

An assessment (aka manuscript critique) is a professional evaluation of your project on the large scale. I will analyze the concept, voice, structure and organization, narrative arc, pace, age-appropriateness, and other qualities of your piece, as well as how it might fit into the current publishing marketplace. I recommend an assessment as a first step for revision.

What you'll receive: a brief (three- to five-page) letter discussing the strengths and weaknesses of your piece, along with some broad ideas for how you might strengthen it

DEVELOPMENTAL EDIT

A developmental edit is a thorough read and critical analysis of your piece with concrete suggestions for how you might improve it. After talking with you about your project goals, I offer observations, queries, and suggestions to help you fine-tune the structure, organization, pace, flow, and tone of your piece; develop and clarify themes and ideas; and smooth any rough passages. Developmental editing is a broad review of your developing work, not a sentence-by-sentence edit (a copyedit). If your work is of a highly specialized or technical nature, I can coordinate my services with your subject-matter expert.

What you'll receive: a detailed (eight- to ten-page) editorial letter and in-margin comments on the manuscript and a thirty-minute phone consultation after you've received the edit

LINE EDIT

A line edit (aka comprehensive or heavy copyedit) is a line-by-line, word-by-word examination of your manuscript. It includes basic copyediting as well as suggestions to help tighten and polish your writing and improve its clarity. I recommend this level of editing if you have already settled on the overall narrative arc, structure, and voice of your piece and are now looking to dig in and revise it on the chapter and sentence level. In children's fiction I look at the arc and pace of the narrative and help ensure that characters, settings, and dialogue ring true. I evaluate nonfiction for clarity, pace, structural soundness, and well-reasoned, compelling prose.

What you'll receive: a brief (three- to five-page) editorial letter, your manuscript edited with track changes and in-margin comments, a style sheet (see "basic copyedit") and a thirty-minute phone consultation after you've received the edit

BASIC COPYEDIT

A basic copyedit is a detailed read of your manuscript to identify and fix any mechanical errors or errors and inconsistencies in grammar, syntax, usage, and diction. I perform light fact-checking to verify the spelling of names and places and evaluate all elements for consistency. I create a style sheet for your piece (a record of editorial decisions) to help maintain consistency going forward. I also query and help rework any passages that could confuse or distract your reader from your intended meaning. I recommend a basic copyedit if you are looking for a final polish before submitting your work for publication.

What you'll receive: a brief (one- to three-page) editorial letter, a style sheet, your manuscript edited with track changes and in-margin comments

PROOFREAD

A proofread is the important last step before your work is ready to be seen by the public. I perform a final, thorough check of typeset pages or finalized documents to correct typos and any remaining mechanical and grammatical errors. I also pay special attention to the appearance of the document, ensuring that elements of the design and layout are as intended. Typical problems identified and corrected during proofreading include errors in end-of-line hyphenation, margins, typeface and font, running heads, folios, placement of illustrations and tables, etc.

What you'll receive: a one-page editorial letter and a marked-up layout


WORK PROCESS

1. Please email me at mollywoodward1@gmail.com to tell me about your project and the service you're interested in. It's helpful if you include a note telling me about your aims for this project—your inspiration and what you hope to communicate. It's also helpful if you include at least a sample of the work itself, so I can gauge the kind of attention it might need. Please know that all materials I receive are treated as confidential and privileged information. I will not at any time or in any manner use any proprietary information for my own benefit, or divulge, disclose, or communicate any information to any third party.

2. I will reply confirming receipt, answer any questions, and send you a proposal and/or next steps. If the project and service you're interested in are straightforward and our schedules are in sync, I'll send you my estimated fee and completion date.

3. Once we've decided to work together, I will send you an editorial agreement with an invoice for 50 percent of the fee. 

4. I will deliver my finished work on your project via email and send you a final invoice for the balance due.

I enjoy hearing what happens with projects I've worked on and staying connected with people I've worked with. Please don't hesitate to reach out and let me know what's new.