EDITING & CONSULTATION
"She could see it all so clearly, so commandingly, when she looked: it was when she took her brush in hand that the whole thing changed." – Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
An initial consultation, including reading the first 10-15 pages of your manuscript, is complimentary. Kate Moses will discuss your goals and challenges and give you her thoughts on how to proceed based on your project’s particular requirements and state of completion, as well as how she believes she could best be of help—whether for a Manuscript Read-Through, a Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit, other Editing (Line Editing, Copyediting & Proofreading), Mentorship over time, or a combination.
The Birds & Muses team will be happy to provide a rate quote upon request. You are welcome to contact Kate and/or request the Birds & Muses schedule of rates here.
This first level of consultation is for writers who want broad, global feedback on a manuscript, whether a complete draft or a significant chunk, to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a work-in-progress in macro terms (is the story compelling and the point of view appropriate, are the characters convincing, does the narrative have tension and forward momentum, does the whole narrative hold together, what needs more attention?) rather than micro (a Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit). A Read-Through is often useful for beginning writers to get early feedback and guidanc, or for experienced writers who are looking for general input prior to their next draft of a work, but who don’t need more detailed analysis.
A Read-Through entails Kate's complete reading of your manuscript with first-level margin notes followed by an overall evaluative written report that will give a broader context for all of the annotations in the manuscript. After looking at your annotated manuscript and reading Kate's report, your follow-up phone call will allow you to discuss her observations in terms of your vision for your work, and how you can move forward. Think of a Read-Through as a big-picture assessment, a one-off consultation to get a sense of how you’re doing so far, and what to pay attention to as you continue.
A Manuscript Read-Through is the least expensive way to get Kate's feedback on your writing project, but is also less comprehensive and granular.
Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit
A Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit is a more in-depth, detailed evaluation of a complete (or significantly far along) manuscript draft, as well as a comprehensive “road map” for the writer to follow in developing and revising the work to bring it to a higher level. A developmental edit (also called a content or substantive edit) delves deeply into the content of the work— its underlying narrative logic and scaffolding, its character development in relation to plot, its dramatic unfolding of layers of action and meaning, and how they hold together—as well as its surface or “scenery” in terms of line-by-line evaluation of craft issues specific to the work’s genre, such as narrative arc, situation vs. story, characterization, conflict and tension, retrospection, point of view, time management, structure, style and language, patterning and subtext…and technical mechanics such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency, and formatting.
This service is for a work that you feel you’ve taken as far as you can, possibly through several drafts, but you know needs another round (or two...) and the fresh eyes of an experienced editor. In addition to fully annotating your manuscript using Track Changes, Google Docs, or on hard copy (using blue, green, or purple ink, not red), making suggestions for cuts, changes, additions—from single words or phrases to deleting, rearranging, or introducing whole chapters and even characters—Kate will also write a multi-page report addressing the issues particular to your manuscript: your roadmap to follow as you continue on your own after an exhaustive conversation of 2-3 hours (depending on the length of your work), during which we will go over all of Kate’s observations and your questions, concerns, and ideas.
If you don’t feel your project is ready for a Full Evaluation/Developmental Edit but you’d like more detailed input than a Manuscript Evaluation provides, Kate can give your manuscript a Full Evaluation with a Partial Edit (the first 25-100 pages), which will give you the benefit of a complete evaluation as well as a “partial road map” to follow as you revise, without paying for a full edit of pages you expect to rewrite.
Other Consultation Services
Kate is happy to advise and work with you on your book concept, your writing practice, conference & residency opportunities, MFA programs and applications, agent queries and book proposals, magazine submissions, and publishing and the professional writing life in general.
She is also available to advise businesses, nonprofits and organizations on literary programming and any written content needs you may have. Please see more information under Writing.
Other Editing Services
This level of line-by-line editing is for manuscripts that have already been through several drafts to eliminate all or most conceptual and technical problems. Line editing is a thorough and detailed edit that will refine any lingering substantive issues, structural kinks, and other inconsistencies in your manuscript on the sentence level and larger, smoothing the pace and preparing the manuscript for its final polish in copyedit.
The copyedit is the final stage of editing, intended to correct mechanical and superficial flaws (awkward word choices, grammar, syntax, punctuation) and make adjustments to formatting on a manuscript that has already been exhaustively revised and refined. (At the publishing level, the copyeditor also marks the manuscript for typesetting; after the author signs off on the final copyedit, the manuscript goes to the printer.)
Proofreading literally means just what is says, “reading proof,” or the last-ditch opportunity to catch mistakes on the printer’s proof pages before a book is printed. Believe me, even the most seasoned editors miss obvious blunders all the time! Spell Check will take you only so far. A final proofreading of your important document is good insurance against embarrassment later.