Story Editing Services for Hire!

EditingGlasses682My brand new editing website is now live and I’m accepting clients for story editing, proofreading and general editing services. I’ve decided to take my 17 years as a writer, editor and teacher and put them to good use helping other people make their fiction the best it can be. I love telling stories, and I love helping other people tell stories too, so it’s a great new direction.

If you or someone you know is in need of an editor, please send them my way. My rates are reasonable, my fingers are fast, and my red pen is always sharp!



Rob Takes Up Freelance Editing- My Eye and Quill for Hire!

I’ve decided to make myself available for freelance editing jobs, starting with an ad on offering 999 words edited for just $5! What a steal! In addition, if anyone has any other editing jobs they’d like done, please feel free to contact me directly as and put “Editing” in the Subject line. For eBooks, I’ll edit a single chapter for free as a sample before we discuss prices.


(Mostly) Free Online Proofreading Software

Let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes.

Even the best writer misses things, and it’s hard to know what to improve when you’re editing your own work. Whether you’re a blogger, or an author, you’re going to need a little outside help, but the problem is that unless your friends are really good at editing, outside help can get a little expensive. There’s no excuse for not knowing the rules of grammar yourself, but even if you know then, sometimes you’ll miss mistakes in your own writing.

I wrote a year or so ago about how you can turn MS Word into a machine for hunting down passive sentences, and that’s a great trick, but sometimes people need more help than Word’s capable of offering. Luckily, for those of us who need proofreading help on the fly, or on the cheap, there are a few options out there.


Hemmingwayapp is a very simple proofreader which focusses on readability. It hunts for passive phrases, adverbs, and harder to understand sentences and then highlights them in colour so you can see the areas you need to work on. It also rates your writing on a grade readability scale, so you know what level of education would be needed to read what you’ve written. This could come in handy if you’re writing Young Adult works, or ones targeted towards a very general audience. It’s free online (although they’re working on a paid desktop version), but you need to erase the text which is there now and replace it with your own text. (Something they don’t tell you anywhere on the page.)


Editminion is a very simple free online proofreader that processes and highlights issues in the chunks of text you copy-paste into it. Editminion hunts for passive sentences, weak words, adverbs, and a lot of the more common traps that weigh down the writing of newer writers, and displays them in a report at the bottom of the page. It’s no frills, and expects the reader to know why those words might be an issue already, but if you’re just looking for something simple and quick, it’s not bad.


Slickwrite is a free proofreader similar to Editminion, but more fully featured. It not only goes over style issues, but allows you to see your sentence structure and word variety in color-coded text. You can also configure it in more detail than Editminion to look for exactly the areas you’re concerned about in your own writing like legalese, overwriting and weak descriptions. If you want more detail, but don’t have a credit card, this might be the site!


Proofreadbot is a paid site, but very economical, with the average cost being around one cent per proofread document. So, for the $5 minimum, you get 500 proofread documents, which is pretty economical, especially considering it checks your document against 3173 different rules of grammar and style. It also has a nice long page explaining every one of those rules that you’ll pretty much have to see to believe. According to the site, “The report groups results according to style, grammar, punctuation, statistics and plagiarism.” With each issue in your document highlighted, and then if you click on the highlighted text it will tell you what’s wrong and offer to explain why. (Check their sample report to see it in action.) I guess when you’re checking 3173 rules it’s hard to color code them, but I wouldn’t have minded them categorized by type in some way instead of a screen of red highlighted blocks. Still, other than being free, you can’t get more grammar help for the price they charge!


Grammarly is a professional grade online proofreader that goes through your documents and finds areas of concern for you to look at. It’s a pay site, but has a 7 day free trial, and options for monthly ($30/month), quarterly ($20/month) and yearly subscriptions ($12/month). It’s very highly rated, and gives you a lot of information about your writing, but requires you to give them your credit card information to start your “free trial”. If you feel you need a lot of detailed help, but can’t afford a human editor, this might be one way to go.

And that’s it! Online copyediting software will never replace a good human editor, but they can help you strengthen your writing and make reading it a much smoother experience.

P.S. If you need some material to test out some of these options on, you might consider using Write or Die to generate it.

P.P.S. If anyone knows of a great site I missed, please let me know in the comments!

Really Good Collection of Editing and Revision Tips

I found a link today to a collection of 20 editing/revision tips that definitely made me think. I’m in the process of editing Twin Stars Bk1 at the moment, and I think I might use some of these as part of that process.

One that caught my eye was a suggested style guide:

10. Style guide (this is mine, and might not be for everyone, but I’m thinking music and readability):

  • Value nouns and verbs over adjectives and especially adverbs.
  • Value consonants over vowels.
  • Value hard consonants (e.g. k) over soft consonants (e.g. g).
  • Value words of one syllable over words of two syllables over words of three syllables, etc. Though precision is important, and sometimes the right word is the longer word.
  • Each sentence should include more stressed syllables than unstressed syllables (a la Lish).
  • A sentence with a masculine ending (stressed syllable) sounds stronger than one with a feminine ending (unstressed syllable).
  • Avoid using the word was when possible. A lot of this has to do with using the right action verb.
  • Avoid introductory clauses (e.g. Closing my eyes, I smiled) except when used as time or location markers (At five o’clock, When I got back from the store, In the supermarket).
  • Using common words, or colloquial words, in new ways, is more interesting than using uncommon words in normal ways.
  • Avoid “begin” or “start” or intermediate actions (e.g. I began to sing. He started walking. He got up from the couch and went to the door. Just write: I sing. He walked. He went to the door.)
  • Value consonance and assonance over alliteration.
  • In almost all instances, use “say” or “ask” instead of other dialogue tags.

via Necessary Fiction.

Pretentious Title: Editing for People Who Hate Editing

Author Rachel Aaron has recently posted a great piece about how she came to love the editing process over on her blog. It comes at just the right time for me, as I’m finally about to start editing book one of Twin Stars. Good advice any writer should check out, especially a novelist.

When you write a first draft, you are writing a story. You’re telling your character’s tale, spinning your adventure, whatever. When you start to edit a novel, you’re no longer just telling a story, you’re getting ready to put on a production, to invite a reader into your world. Think of your book as a fun house ride. You might have built this funhouse based on your fantasies, but once you invite people in, it’s no long your world alone. The world has to make sense to others, it has to delight and surprise and, most importantly, capture them. The readers might be drawn in by the glitz at the front door, but from the moment they set foot inside your domain, it’s your job to keep them there.


This, for me, is what editing is about. You are no longer just getting words down, you’re no longer asking “what happens next?” You’re asking “how can I prepare the reader for what happens next?” and “how can I make them LOVE IT?” You’re not just crafting a story, you’re crafting an experience that you are going to share with each person who picks up your book. It is your job to make sure your plot and world make sense not just within the book, but in the mind of the reader. Your job to make sure your characters are engrossing, not just effective for your plot. Your job to give these people a reason to stay.

via Pretentious Title: Editing for People Who Hate Editing.

The 10% Solution to Editing Your Books

Yesterday, I was doing a bit of research on editing as it’s a dragon I will soon need to face with pen in hand. While looking for tips I came across references to a book on self editing called The 10% Solution by Ken Rand. Intrigued, I began to look into it and soon found that the secret to the book really can be summed up by the title.

Simply put, his technique is simply to take what you’ve written and cut out 10% of it.

Now, there’s more to it than that, and he apparently goes into fair detail about how to do it in the book, but the basic principle seems pretty sound to me. That 10% isn’t about randomly removing chapters, but trying to tighten up your prose by getting rid of any extra words and working to make your sentences as compact and active as they can possibly be. If you think about it, in the process of doing this you would probably end up fixing a lot of your grammar errors and typos just by virtue of pouring over the document so many time trying to get it to that golden 10% off mark.

When I start my book editing in a month or so I will first be doing a couple revision passes to work on the big stuff, but when I’m ready for the line editing I think I’ll give this technique a whirl. The worst it’s going to do is make the life of my proofreaders easier, and that’s hardly a bad thing!


Wiseman Educational Services | Proofreading and More

Announcing Rob’s newest venture- Wiseman Educational Services. After spending years editing and proofreading documents for people, I’ve decided to make a formal business of it and hang out my shingle!

As an English teacher, ESL teacher and English for Specific Purposes teacher I’ve edited just about everything over the years- from graduate thesis to poems and advertising. Often my employers while I was living in Asia would stick documents into my inbox and say “please edit this”, which I did as a dutiful employee. I even ended up working for a Korean company called E.K. Productions for a few years doing proofreading and polishing of documents as a sideline. One of the advantages of this is that I got really good at taking documents that are in a sort of half-English half-Korean/Chinese and then turning them into real English.

Anyways, if you have time, take a gander at the site and feel free to suggest improvements or point out things I might be missing.