Editing Services

Laurie Devine has more than 40 years’ experience in writing and editing in many different specialties: journalism, books of fiction and memoirs, nonprofit grants, television news, education and medical writing and editing, ghostwriting and personal histories. That experience is the foundation for a broad array of writing and editing possibilities.

Laurie’s editing focus currently is concentrated on grant-writing, editing of novels and memoirs, and general editing in the subject areas of spiritual, educational, medical and academic subjects, with a focus on ecology.

Pricing depends on scope, estimated time to complete a project and the level of editing needed. The following information offers some options, approaches and opportunities. But every writing and editing project is different and requires flexibility and creativity. It also helps when a writer and editor “click,” and can work together compatibly and collaboratively because, no pun intended, both feel they are “on the same page.”

Grants:

Laurie writes grants for nonprofits, particularly centered in the greater Phoenix market where she has a particular understanding of foundation possibilities. Her successful grant applications have ranged from $1,500 to $2 million for capital and endowment campaigns as well as programmatic and operational projects. She has secured lucrative grants for Catholic Charities Community Services as well as the Franciscan Renewal Center, where she serves as Grants Manager. Her services can be secured in various ways: monthly full-service retainers, single or multi-grant campaigns, or creation of a strategic grant funding plan tailored for a particular non-profit. She does not handle government grants.  

Fiction & Memoir Editing:

Much of Laurie’s recent editing has focused on fiction and memoirs and includes developmental editing, manuscript evaluation, coaching, copy editing, line editing and orchestrating campaigns to secure agents. Laurie strongly believes that the guiding star of editing is not to interfere with an author’s creative vision. Editing can sharpen, polish, refine and clarify writing, but the author’s creative vision is…sacred. That said, another important reality is how hard for it can be for authors to understand and accept how much and what kind of editing a manuscript needs. Mostly authors hope their manuscript is perfect as is, or needs little work. A critical issue is the author’s purpose and expectations. Does the author want a traditional publisher or self-publishing? Does he or she see this as a professional career, a way to supplement income or simply realization of a lifetime dream to tell his or her story?

An important step in this editing process is for the author to do some soul-searching about not just the purpose of editing/publishing but how much time and money he/she is willing or able to invest.

Even the most successful and accomplished authors would agree that a manuscript needs to be professionally copyedited before publication. This can be as simple as having “another pair of eyes” scrutinizing a manuscript for common errors—such as spelling, grammar, style, pacing and plot inconsistencies which have crept in during a writer’s revision process. A polished manuscript by a previously-published author may only need the final polish of copy editing. Laurie offers copy editing as part of her editing services. 

But probably what most writers are looking for when they seek Laurie’s services is “developmental editing,” which has become particularly sought after by debut authors interested in self-publishing.  This is a serious, deep evaluation and line-by-line analysis of what needs to be done to shape a manuscript into the book’s best potential in terms of structure, flow, characters, voice or other crucial aspect of the book. It is important to understand, however, that developmental editing does not include the editor rewriting the manuscript with all the suggested changes integrated. The editor suggests but does not make the changes. But the problem is that an author with a book that needs major work may pay for a developmental edit, only to find that he or she has no idea how to implement all the changes the editor suggested.

A Suggested Editing Approach

Often debut authors in particular may need more work on their books than they anticipate. Many would be better with a total rewrite. (Laurie remembers how her heart sank years ago when her agent suggested that she “run the manuscript through the computer another time.”) But he was right; the book was much better after three more months of concentrated work. But Laurie hated to hear the agent’s recommendation, and so will most authors. Yet she remembers brooding: if I had wanted to write it the way the agent/publisher/editor suggested, I would have done it that way to begin with. But her attitude to suggestions for revisions in her own writing has softened and perhaps matured over the years. What matters is the best book, and anyone who can help make that happen deserve thanks, maybe even hugs.  

Laurie believes that one workable pathway to a final manuscript that reflects the author’s creative vision is using a manuscript evaluation, coaching and then a combination developmental edit and copy edit. What this approach does is use that old adage of teaching a hungry person to fish rather than giving someone a fish. Laurie begins with an intensive manuscript evaluation (5-6 pages at least) for a set fee that is a prescription for what she believes should be done and can include plausibility, character development, plot “holes” and solutions, dialogue, flow, and structural “spine.” A series of email or phone conversations between Laurie and the author ensue, with Laurie coaching the author. Then the author begins the rewrite but consults with Laurie as needed via email or phone (hourly rates apply). Finally, when the author is satisfied with the rewrite, Laurie begins the actual final edit (which can be just a copy edit or a combination developmental and copy edit).  Laurie believes the beauty of this approach is that the author not only finishes the final editing of the book but also learns replicable techniques of writing fiction. It’s also a real human interaction! Not just emails but conversations!

Spiritual Direction: an additional service

Laurie has a spiritual direction practice at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona and also is available by Skype or phone for private consultations. Spiritual direction (sometimes called spiritual companioning) is a kind of spiritual counseling based on intuitive listening, affirming and gentle restoration techniques. It’s an opportunity to share spirituality concerns in a relationship of trust and can be valuable either to work through a particular crisis or to establish a deeply affirming, supportive, ongoing, helping relationship. Laurie completed a two-year certificated Art of Spiritual Direction program in 2003 at the Kino Institute in Phoenix. She is Catholic but has wide experiences with those of any, or no, religious traditions from her many years as a professional medical chaplain. She is also a Reiki Master. Just now she feels called to work with those with grief issues and those beginning “new” lives of faith and creativity.  Laurie is particularly fascinated with the links between creativity and spirituality.