If you are looking for a professional editor, look no further. I had the pleasure of working with Dave King during the writing of my debut novel. I had purchased Dave’s tome of editing knowledge (co-authored with Renni Browne), Self-Editing for Fiction Writer, a few years ago and it never strayed far from my writer’s garrett, providing invaluable advice and a number of entertaining comics. Taken from Dave’s website regarding the book: “After 17 years and a second edition, it’s still a near-constant fixture on Amazon.com’s list of their top 25 fiction writing books and has been adopted as a textbook around the country. Within a year or so, sales will crack 100,000 copies.”
I had contacted a local editing company and left a message for them in May 2011. Six months later, I have still not heard back. Dave had been my first choice but price-wise, he was just a little higher and I thought local would be good. Granted the local editors body of work was primarily medical texts and non-fiction.
So I decided to give Dave a call, from my home in Ontario to his in Massachusetts. Dave picked up on the second ring, chatted with me for a good ten minutes or so and I made my decision. The first, and my favourite, service was the diagnostic. I sent my manuscript to Dave and, if I recall correctly, in just over a week I had a letter back that detailed the good and the bad of my manuscript regarding characters, style, plot, etc. Luckily, there was a lot of good. And the rest was well-written and well thought out constructive criticism where Dave picked up on some things I hadn’t even noticed. In addition to letting me know the weak points of the manuscript, Dave also provided a number of ideas in regard to rewriting the manuscript to fix the problem areas.
I probably could have rewritten my manuscript and come up with an even better finished product from the diagnostic alone. But I decided to have Dave take pen to paper and line edit the manuscript.
Dave’s method of editing is, at least as far as I’m aware, unique. The editing is done in fifty page batches with you using his editing of the last batch to re-edit the next, always working fifty pages ahead. I learned more from this than I could have guessed, it was like taking an advanced course in editing. And the results were evident – with each fifty page batch the amount of changes Dave made went down (and so did the time required to edit and, therefore, the cost of editing). Of course now that I’ve been taught to be an amazing editor, Dave has rendered himself obsolete.
I wish that were really the case. One thing I have realized is that no matter how well you write, no matter how strong a manuscript you think you have, it can always be better.
So take a look at his site, read the sample diagnostic letters and trust me when I say, it’ll be the best use of your writing allowance you’ll ever spend (aside from maybe buying a computer).
And Dave, thanks again for all the hard work.