CONSULTATION & EDITING
"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, Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit, Editing (Line Editing, Copyediting & Proofreading), Mentorship, or a combination.
The Birds & Muses team will provide a rate quote after consultation with Kate. You are welcome to request the Birds & Muses schedule of sample rates here.
This level of consultation is for writers who want global feedback on a manuscript, whether a complete draft or a significant chunk, to assess its strengths and weaknesses in macro terms (is the story compelling, the characters surprising & convincing, does the narrative have forward momentum, is the point of view appropriate, what needs more attention?) rather than micro (a Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit). A Read-Through is often useful to experienced writers who are looking for general input for their next draft of a work in development but who don’t need more detailed analysis, or for beginning writers to get early feedback and guidance.
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 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 one-off consultation to get a sense of how you’re doing so far, and what to do next.
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. Think of it as getting a big-picture assessment.
Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit
A Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit is a more in-depth, detailed evaluation of a complete draft as it is, 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 logic and ideas and concept, and how they hold together—as well as its “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, retrospection, point of view, time management, structure, pacing, language…and technical issues 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, probably through several drafts, but you know needs another round (or two!) and the fresh eyes of an experienced editor. In addition to fully marking up your manuscript either using Track Changes or on hard copy (using blue, green, or purple ink, not red, to be friendlier!), making suggestions for cuts, changes, additions—from single words or phrases to deleting or rearranging whole chapters and even characters—Kate will also write a comprehensive report addressing all of the particular issues related to your manuscript: your roadmap to follow as you continue to work on your own, after an exhaustive conversation to go over all of your questions and 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 structural 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 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.