Frequently Asked Questions
So you've got questions - that's great! I've compiled a few answers to common questions here. If you're still curious after reading these, contact me! I'll be happy to sate your curiosity.
What are your genre specialties?
My specialties are science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, speculative fiction, and any combination of these genres. I also love anything that bucks tradition!
I read widely - and outside of these genres! - but I'm very familiar with the expectations, conventions, and tropes within those four.
Do you edit outside of your genre specialties?
For manuscript evaluations and beta reads, yes!
I prefer to read within my specialties for developmental edits, since specialized knowledge of the genre helps me make specialized suggestions.
Why do you need my manuscript for a sample edit?
Great question! I need the full manuscript for a sample edit so that I can very lightly skim through the whole document. This lets me see if there are any places where the writing significantly changes, if I see something missing (like, whole chapters), or anything out of the ordinary that might change my recommendations.
Fret not, however! I won't disclose anything about your story to anyone, because I will sign a non-disclosure agreement to you before you submit any of your work to me.
What file types do you accept for submissions?
I highly prefer and STRONGLY recommend Word documents (.doc). I will then return your Word file to you with Track Changes turned on and LOTS of little comment bubbles.
If absolutely necessary, I can work with PDFs. However, it is not my preference for a variety of reasons and strongly encourage submissions of Word documents.
Do you offer copyediting or proofreading services?
My specialty is developmental, big-picture editing work that deals with the foundations of story. I refer technical and grammatical work to other editors who've specialized in those skills.
What's it like to work with you as an editor? Should I be scared?
I know it's nerve-wracking to let someone - especially a stranger - read your writing analytically. It takes an enormous act of faith on your part to trust me with a story that has been worth your time, imagination, and energy.
My first priority as an editor is to honor that act of faith. When it comes to giving feedback, I value encouragement, compassionate honesty, creative problem solving, good-natured humor, and an earnest desire to see your story grow more fully into your vision. I want to make sure that you see these values come through in each interaction we have.
One writer I've been working with long-term put it this way:
"It was a highly encouraging and promising experience that gave me a lot to work on and improve, but also left me feeling better about my work rather than feeling destroyed or over-examined. Writing can be a highly personal experience, so putting my work under the microscope like that is extremely intimidating, but as soon as I started reading your feedback, that intimidation washed away and it felt like I was reading insightful comments from a friend."
This is how I want every writer to feel after having worked with me. So don't be scared - I'm here to help you and your story.
How do I know you'll respect my vision, stylistic choices, and/or themes as a writer?
That's a great question! You don't want to invest in an editor that doesn't understand the first thing about your creative vision. Likewise, if I feel I'm not a good fit for your story, I will say so. You deserve someone who is fully committed and equipped to guiding your manuscript and, if that person isn't me, I can give you recommendations on where to find someone who is.
The answer: your vision and publication plans for your story are the basis for the edits and suggestions I provide. I can't edit without knowing your intentions for this story.
In addition, it's not my place to write your story for you. You are the only person who can capture the incredible essence, the magic of the ideas in your head. I can intuit, guide, give resources, and encourage, but you are the only one who can write your story. That's not to say I won't suggest all kinds of changes, big and small. But all of those suggestions will be deeply informed by what you want your story to say and how I think you can say it louder, show it more compellingly, and make it more relatable and universal.
For me, anything less would be out of place.
In short, I'm here to provide expert advice - you tell me where you're headed, and I'll guide you & give you the tools to help you find your way there.
What's the difference between a beta-read, a manuscript evaluation, and a developmental edit?
Basically? Depth. All three are big-picture reviews of your story, its strengths, and weaknesses from a professional perspective.
Here is a review of the differences:
A beta-read is the most top-level service. It's a quick and broad look at whether or not your story "works", from a reader's perspective, and why. This service is intended for writers who have nearly-publishable manuscripts that are seeking reactions and feedback from a professional before they put their story on the market.
A manuscript evaluation is a mid-level service, in between a beta-read a developmental edit. This service works best for writers who want broad, tailored advice about their novel before going into revisions, but don't want the level of detail or involvement that comes with a full developmental edit. I will provide plenty of guidance while emphasizing the places that still need improvement.
A developmental edit is the most in-depth service. It's a deep dive into your manuscript and is as much an investment in you as a writer as it is an investment in your story. The suggestions will not only include ways to improve your manuscript, but also aim to help you develop your writing skills through practice and/or research.
Why "Midnight Quill"?
"Midnight" because I'm a night owl! I always do my best, most creative work at night. "Quill" comes from my love of fantasy - my first-ever attempt at a novel was a fantasy/sci-fi blend - and anything genre, whimsical, and sophisticated.