1.What is Developmental Narrative?

Right now the Workshop Model is the only game in town for writers interested in learning about the bits and pieces that go into writing fiction – the best words, good sentences, strong scene development. There’s even software out there that can help you piece together a story.

But none of that teaches writers where story comes from or how it develops and evolves, or how character and story move together to create narrative synergy and agency.

The only place you can understand what makes the best so different from everything else is if you study literature as creative writing. No program in the world brings together the study of literature and narrative and creative writing.

But if writers don’t look at the trail of evidence – the fiction itself – then what else do we have but messy trial and error?

In fact, this is the only place you can go to understand master narrative development from the masterpieces themselves – the greatest fiction the world has ever known.

2.What makes Developmental Narrative any different from anything else out there?

Proof, plain and simple. Not opinion, not someone’s literary tastes, not just the external factors that make something look like a story in only the most superficial ways and almost guarantees failure because it doesn’t tap into reader instinct for the ways great narrative reaches us.

Developmental Narrative is all about the infrastructure of the powerful narrative, gleaned from the deconstruction and analysis of most powerful narratives available.

Because let’s face it, who wants to learn how to write mediocre stories?

Or terrible ones, for that matter?

Why should I hire you instead of any other editor or service?

A lot of editors offer similar skills and share the same backgrounds, but it’s a rarity for editors to have university degrees (B. Comm.. MA) and experience in business and writing and composition rhetoric. It’s a fairly unique combination requiring both complementary and divergent intuitions at the same time. Ultimately, any editor can do the job. But if you want one who understands both the artistic and marketability factors behind important documents in the business and publishing worlds, then the only risk you’d be taking is in getting a lot more return on your investment.

One of the greatest issues in the editing industry today is offshore contractors, which are foreign-based editing sweatshops selling cut-rate services. The ready availability of these types of editing aggregators online makes them very tempting when the only competitive edge available is pricing. It’s important to remember that with those faceless websites it’s impossible to know who’s handling the material clients have spent careers, reputations, time, and sleepless nights creating. That’s why my name is on the masthead. Clients know who they’re dealing with, and can be sure that the work has been professionally managed.

One way to gauge a potential consultant’s professionalism is their promotional material. Maybe the content seems incredibly amateur – or worse, full of sloppy mistakes. How would such an editor do on a client’s important documents? Does it represent the kind of care you’d want someone to take with a manuscript or resume? Is even one error acceptable in an editor?

How someone represents themselves can be an important indicator of skills and professionalism. Pay attention. Take it seriously.

2. Are you your own editor?

Yes and no. Some documents – letters, emails, some business documents – require pretty standard editing skills, and the experience I’ve garnered over the years makes this type of editing fairly easy. When it comes to fiction I, like any fiction writer, lack one key element to self-edit appropriately – objectivity. Throughout my writing life I have relied on great editors to provide perspective and scope. Without the outside eye I have wasted a lot of time agonizing over problems I could not define on my own. The right editor has always made me see the potential in my own work, strengths and weaknesses, and if I was really lucky, had the strength to call me out on some pretty bad writing. Only time and experience – and plenty of mistakes –  have taught me how invaluable outside editing is.

3. How do you charge?

Editing rates depend on the type of work being done. Manuscript fees are by the word/page count, while corporate work is by the hour and type of work involved. Rush jobs can be anywhere from 10-50% extra, so larger documents with shorter turnarounds are charged at higher rush rates. Workshops and Coaching fees are hourly.

4. How are payments made?

Payments can be made through corporate accounts, certified cheque, or money order. No personal cheques will be accepted. Half the estimated invoice must be paid up front, and the rest due upon receipt of the completed project.

5. How will I be able to get my document to you?

Documents must be in Word, and the client must be familiar with the Track Changes review feature. Clients will require an email service adequate to handle the size of the electronic document file as well as the size of the returned, edited file. High speed internet connections are standard and expected.

6. How long will it take to get the edited results back?

Turnaround times depend on the size of the document. A single-page document can be returned within 24 hours.  A completed fiction manuscript requiring analysis, proofreading, and line editing can take up to six weeks depending on the word count and quality of the writing. A poorly written manuscript riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and suffering structural, tonal, or consistency problems will take longer than a cleanly and elegantly written submission, as will full manuscript editing over a less involved service like proofreading.

7. What if I don’t like the work that was done?

Client satisfaction is the most important consideration in a successful business model. Professional results reflect on the client’s reputation as well as the editor’s. Every effort is made to achieve satisfaction; after all, future business depends on loyal clientele and a healthy, trustworthy relationship.

The intimate connection between writing and self can make tampering with the very building blocks of this fragile structure – one’s words – very emotional. Experienced editors know this, and are highly sensitive to the way work is critiqued and evaluated. Editing is always professional. Any problems with the professional quality of the editing will be immediately addressed.

8. How is it possible to participate in workshops or coaching online?

Clients signing up for web-based workshops or coaching will be expected to have a web cam. Signing up for a free Skype account is mandatory.  Calls will come through at appointment times and end on the hour.

9. What is your Blog protocol for visitors, commenters, and subscribers?

Many bloggers and writers will be interested in any professional site where they might get noticed, either through insightful commentary or with the hope that their own blog will move them closer to publication. Most likely hope that comments or subscriptions will lead to a quick visit to their own blogs. Following the standard reciprocity protocol usually suggested to bloggers for increasing traffic would impede the ability of professionals with a site such as this to focus on work. Consequently, time management means that a strict policy must be maintained about visiting other blogs regardless of the quality or any enticements. Non-reciprocity is nothing personal, and it is sincerely hoped that those participating on the blog page do so because the posts contribute something meaningful to the discourse for writers, and not simply in order to either earn a return stats hit or get discovered.