Author of “Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword”
Author of A Borrowed Hell, 2018 Colorado Book Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy
Author of The Future’s Dark Past, Cygnus Sci-fi 2017 Contest Winner
Daniel J. Heck
Author of Seal of Thomerion and Gate to Thomerion
I’ve read submissions for Tor.com since 2011 and even acquired a couple of them. Every year, thousands of stories go through me. It’s an amazing job and even though i’ve worked at other magazines and publishers doing various things (most notably Shimmer and Nightmare Magazine), i have learned the most here at Tor.com.
It’s given me an excellent perspective on how to start strong and keep a reader’s attention, but it also helps me identify publishing trends, tropes that ought to be shelved, and common stumbling blocks for authors exploring supernatural or technological “what if?” premises.
I’ve also been editing novels on a freelance basis since 2014. One of the novels i worked on recently won the Colorado Book Award (A Borrowed Hell by L.D. Colter); others have gained traction at traditional presses (The Future’s Dark Past by John Yarrow), or garnered solid reviews and noteworthy indie sales (Mythborn series by V. Lakshman).
bad-ass craft education
In 2010 i attended Viable Paradise with an incredibly wise cast of instructors that included John Scalzi and Elizabeth Bear. As Bear put it, we underwent “neural reprogramming” and came out with a better understanding of how fiction works.
Two years later, i attended Clarion West with another terrific set of instructors, including Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) and George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones). Sometimes people call Clarion “getting an MFA in six weeks,” and it certainly gave me the grasp of craft that i needed to massage a story into its true potential.
- Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America
- Pacific Northwest Editors Guild
I believe in paying it forward; i would never be where i am if writers, editors, and agents hadn’t shared their knowledge at conferences & conventions. Foolscap, Norwescon and Cascade Writers are a few of the places i’ve been a panelist or workshop facilitator.
my approach to developmental editing:
I work from the premise that a manuscript is only a house where your story lives. A story is ephemeral, alive, and it grows in your head and your heart. When it moves to the page, it changes. My job is to examine your manuscript and identify the places it has changed, then convey how you can use your skillset to guide your reader’s experience so that when the story moves into their head and heart, it feels exactly the way it did inside yours.
I believe any narrative must be served by its rules, or the rules should be discarded. You’ll notice i don’t capitalize my own pronouns; my personal narrative seeks not to reinforce the idea that a speaker is more important than a listener. I am unlikely to parrot 101 advice at you. I would rather hunt down the best of your darlings and find ways to make them so integral to the story that no one would dare tell you to kill them.
Developmental editing is an art. I will look for ways that you can smoothly integrate exposition, tighten your plot, regulate your pace, increase tension, and deepen POV/voice/characterization, among other editorial polishing, but my primary goal is to be sure that what’s delivered to your reader is the package you intended.
To request a copy of a real developmental edit i did for a client (altered slightly to protect the author’s privacy), please e-mail me at redline at inkshark dot net and i will send you a .pdf.
Note: While i don’t typically offer line editing, if i have worked with you before, we can discuss it. ❥
I base my rates on the standard EFA rates for developmental editing and a sample of your work. I prefer to work with a quote/bid rather than by the hour, or in other words, the amount you agree to pay doesn’t change even if i put in more hours than i expected.
I do require payment in advance from new clients; when you bring me your next manuscript, we can do 50% up front and 50% upon delivery.
so how does this work?
send me the first ten pages
…And the total wordcount! I’ll take a look, estimate how long it will take me to do the work, and calculate the cost. If you agree, we’ll set a deadline and you can…
send me the whole manuscript
i’m excited to read it!
One of the novels i worked on won the Colorado Book Award, and a few have won other smaller awards. Do you have any idea how much i want yours to win stuff?
Every five star review and every nomination for a book that went over my desk gives me the jumping happies!
i send you an editorial letter
typically 2,000 – 5,000 words
This will highlight opportunities that may include but won’t be limited to: how to deepen characterization, strengthen the plot, expand world-building, heighten tension and/or suspense, anticipate and guide the reader’s realizations, and make the ending feel more epic & satisfying.
you ask me some questions!
by phone or by internet, your choice!
Included in the fee we agreed upon, i’ll spend an hour clarifying anything you didn’t understand.
I’ve never had a client use the full hour, though, except to chat about other writing-related stuff 🙂