Convinced that everybody who writes needs an editor, I am glad to help clients clarify what they want to say, (almost) no matter the subject. Because of my background as a television news writer, most memorably for CBS News in New York, I am used to the challenge of making the confusing understandable, the obscure relevant, the arcane comprehensible. I correct grammar and question plot lines, trim redundancies and passive tenses.
Novels & Standard Non-Fiction
My most-cited mantra is “Keep the reader in mind.” I read all works as an outsider who represents the would-be reader, a person who is at least marginally interested in either the non-fiction topic or the fictional tale, but is easily confused, bored, or impatient. My task is to keep the work interesting and logical. My specialty, in addition to clarity, is speed.
Whether for works of fiction or non-fiction, I offer two basic services. If a client is unsure which is most useful, I help with the decision. (This involves a $100 fee for my reading of 10 to 25 pages. The money is applicable to the work as a whole.)
The most basic service is an evaluation (sometimes called an overview). This entails a careful reading, followed by a detailed letter spelling out what I believe works or does not, and how to fix what does not.
In non-fiction, I look for consistency of message, writing style, redundancy, tone, argument, and flow, among other factors.
In fiction, I look for story line, writing style, dialogue, scene setting – the works.
The second service is line editing, which is meant especially for developed works. I work more closely on grammar and a finished style, while looking for smaller errors, such as repetition within a scene, hackneyed phrases, and awkward sentence structure.
Note: Line editing is not copy editing. Copy editors make certain, for example, that 6 p.m. is written that way, rather than 6pm. I am more interested in what is taking place at 6pm or 6 p.m.
My clients have included therapists, media people, businessmen, lawyers, a socialite celebrity, and poets. I’m happy to furnish references.
For either service, I charge either an hourly rate or an overall fee based on the anticipated difficulty and length of the project.
Usually, an evaluation is the less costly approach. When people engage me for line editing and prefer to pay by the hour, I suggest they come up with a number of hours they’re comfortable with and then determine if my work proceeds in a way that makes them want to continue. My aim is to make certain that both of us are treated fairly.
As an oral historian, I have interviewed a wide range of people, not only in English, but in German, and about a range of subjects from the ribald to the tragic, the personal to the philosophical.
When someone engages me to interview one of his or her family members, I do so in one or more sessions. The results are then up to the client; most often I have the interview transcribed, then edit it into a cohesive narrative. Working with the client, we often add photographs or other elements of the person’s life, and the result becomes a limited edition book for family and friends.
The results can be as simple as a CD, even a tape recording, or can range from a typed transcript to a narrative, or can be a book of simplicity or complexity. I can also arrange for a videographer if requested.
Contact Alison for further information or inquires about this service.