Editing to unearth the treasure in your manuscript

When you set out to write a book, you aren’t hoping for mediocre results. You want to write a story you can be proud of. Whether you plan to self-publish or dream of a traditional book deal, your words will be part of your legacy. They might even make you enough money to take your dream vacation or finally quit your day job.

But crafting a story that works and meets your readers’ expectations can be a painful process. As Chuck Wendig said, “Every story has a different set of problems.” You might be struggling with story or sentence structure, character motivation or dialogue, or maybe you’re wondering if your work is even good enough to publish.

How do you navigate oceans of information and advice to find what’s useful—without losing the story you want to tell your way? Wouldn't it be great to find someone who cares about your story and can explain the vast array of writing tools (not rules) at your disposal to craft one you can be proud of?

That’s where a good editor—someone who understands story and respects your unique voice—comes in.

At Writership, we want you to experience the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing your book on the shelf. We offer Story Grid DiagnosticsStory Grid Developmental EditingBeat Level Diagnostics, and Beat Level Consultations.

Our services are a little different from what you’ll find with other editors, but they’re designed with intention to help you unearth the treasure in your manuscript and bring your words to the world. You'll find details of these services below.

If you're looking for conventional copyediting (sometimes called line editing) or proofreading, read our blog to find out why we no longer offer these services.


Story Grid Diagnostic

The Story Grid is a tool to help you figure out if your story works and what to do about it when it doesn't. When most readers and editors don't fall in love with a story, they can't tell you exactly what's not working. Why is that?

They evaluate stories with some combination of intuition and preference. The problem with this is that their feedback tends to be vague: as the writer, you won’t necessarily know what is the next right step to take your story from where it is to a story you can be proud of and meets the reader's expectations. 

Shawn Coyne, an editor with more than 25 years of experience has built this tool over the course of his career, and now he shares it with writers everywhere through his blog, book, the podcast he hosts with Tim Grahl, and courses. 

Though you can gain the entire Story Grid methodology for free on Shawn's blog, it helps to have professional support to see what you cannot because you are so close to your work. You know what you mean to say, and it doesn't always make it fully formed onto the page. Shawn can't work with all the authors who come to him wanting help with their stories, so he's selected and trained editors who've demonstrated a deep interest in and aptitude for story and the process.

I've studied the Story Grid methodology since it was first presented on Shawn's blog. I've taken the Story Grid Love Story course and recently completed the official certification course.

Here's the bottom line: Writing is not a mystical gift that you're born with—or not. Though some writers have a natural storytelling ability, they, too, must practice the craft if they want to grow. If your writing isn't where you want it to be, I can show you how to practice the craft and become a better writer.

What do I get?

Your Story Grid Diagnostic includes:

  • A discussion of six core editing questions to discover if your overarching story works,
  • Masterworks suggestions for your genre,
  • A one-hour Skype or phone call before delivering your Diagnostic,
  • A spreadsheet containing a comprehensive analysis of your first five scenes, and
  • A next steps recommendation letter, to empower you to take this information and use it to make your story great.

Is a Story Grid Diagnostic right for me?

If the following thoughts have crossed your mind, a Story Grid Diagnostic might be exactly what you need.

  • “I don’t know if my story works. I don’t know if it’s good enough for publication.”
  • “I want the bones of my book to be strong. I want to create something I can be proud of.”
  • “I’m not sure my characters are likeable/interesting/realistic enough.”

If you’re still unsure, contact us now, and we can talk about the best options for making your story great.

What is the cost and time frame?

  • The investment for a Story Grid Diagnostic is $997 for up to 80,000 words. An additional $90 applies for each additional 10,000 words. The investment is due in full when booking your Diagnostic.
  • Once we start work, it will take one month to receive your diagnostic.
  • Our availability varies, but we will accommodate your scheduling needs whenever we can. As a general rule, we recommend that you contact us two to three months before your manuscript will be ready for review.

Editing services from Writership

Story Grid Developmental Editing

This service is "from the ground up" editing guidance, akin to the structure of the Story Grid Podcast, with private weekly consultations with me. This can begin as early as the first spark of a story idea and go through the final draft. Consultations with an expert editor will help you stay accountable for your writing goals, grow your self-editing skills, and guide you in completing your work. Whether you’re a new writer and not sure where to start, or an experienced writer who wants support to continue to grow in the craft, you can benefit from this package.

This services includes a one-hour coaching call each week. If you’ve been through the diagnostic, we will work through the recommendations in the next steps letter. We can discuss your progress each week, or better still, you can submit scenes for me to review and discuss. The practice of writing scenes and receiving immediate suggestions for course correction creates a tight feedback loop that shortens the learning curve for the writing process. Again, this is similar to the process Tim and Shawn have used on their podcast. 

If you have an idea you want to develop but no complete draft, we would begin by exploring the six core questions to nail down the story you want to tell. Then we would work on your fastball: planning and executing scenes. As you gain proficiency, we move into higher levels of story structure: sequences, acts, subplots, and the global story.

What do I get?

Your Story Grid Developmental Edit includes:

  • A private one-hour coaching call with me each week for four weeks,
  • Customized writing assignments, one per week, and
  • Detailed feedback on submitted assignments.

Is Story Grid Developmental Editing right for me?

If the following thoughts have crossed your mind, a Story Grid Developmental Edit might be exactly what you need.

  • “I want someone to tell me how to improve my writing and give me frequent feedback.”
  • “I have an idea I want to develop but no complete draft.”
  • “I need someone to hold my hand through the editing process.”

If you’re still unsure, contact us now, and we can talk about the best options for making your story great.

What is the cost and time frame?

  • The investment for a Story Grid Developmental Edit is $500 per month and is due in full when booking your first session.
  • We will schedule weekly one-hour coaching calls at mutually convenient times.
  • Our availability varies, but we will accommodate your scheduling needs whenever we can. As a general rule, we recommend that you contact us two to three months before your manuscript will be ready for review.

Editing services from Writership

Beat Level Diagnostic

Beat Level Editing (a reference to the unit of story within scenes) is designed to help you develop your writing craft beyond story and scene level. With Beat Level Editing, you'll come to understand micro writing tools and how to apply them. Often, the lessons learned from reviewing an author's first 25 pages can be applied to the rest of the novel. 

In a Beat Level Diagnostic, I read your entire manuscript then talk with you about your story and what you’re trying to achieve. Then I’ll provide a detailed line edit of 25 pages of your manuscript and a next steps letter with guidance on how to apply the lessons learned from that section to the rest of your manuscript, along with explanations of the writing tools you’ll use (for example, narrative distance, word choice, sentence structure, and dialogue). This advice is tailored to the specific story you want to tell and where you’re at in your writing journey. 

In those 25 pages, I use Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature to make suggestions for smoothness and clarity while carefully maintaining your voice and style. This lets you develop your writing skills while keeping costs manageable.

A Beat Level Diagnostic differs from the traditional copyediting offered by many other editors in that I'll read the entire manuscript then do a thorough line edit of 25 pages of your manuscript. As part of the Diagnostic, you'll a receive a written critique and style guide with specific and concrete steps to improve the story at the level of paragraph and sentence. You’ll be an active participant in the editing process and develop your craft in the rest of your novel. Working this way will help you learn to identify and understand the problems that come up in your writing—then internalize the solutions. You can apply them to your current work in progress and all your future stories. For most manuscripts, the Diagnostic will also be more affordable. 

If you have used a diagnostic or developmental editing service, the beat level edit comes after your story works at the global and scene level. (You don't want to polish what may be cut or added to.)

What do I get?

Your Beat Level Diagnostic includes:

  • A detailed line edit of 25 pages of your manuscript,
  • A one-hour Skype or phone call with me after I've read the entire manuscript to discuss your story so that we understand the story you want to tell and to answer any questions you have,
  • A next steps recommendation letter, to empower you to take this information and apply it to the rest of your manuscript, and
  • A collection of resources with trusted teachings on various writing and editing subjects.

Is a Beat Level Diagnostic right for me?

If the following thoughts have crossed your mind, a Copyediting Diagnostic might be exactly what you need.

  • “I'm happy with my story. Now I need someone to help me improve my writing at the paragraph and sentence level.”
  • “I don't mind doing the work, but I'm not sure where to start.”
  • “I know my manuscript needs copyediting but I don't have the budget for a full, traditional copyedit.”

If you’re still unsure, contact us now, and we can talk about the best options for making your story great.

What is the cost and time frame?

  • The investment for a Beat Level Diagnostic is $797 for up to 80,000 words. An additional $90 applies for each additional 10,000 words. The investment is due in full when booking your Diagnostic.
  • Once we start work, it will take three to four weeks to receive your diagnostic (depending on the length of the manuscript and timing).
  • Our availability varies, but we will accommodate your scheduling needs whenever we can. As a general rule, we recommend that you contact us two to three months before your manuscript will be ready for review.

Editing services from Writership

Beat Level Consultation

If you need additional guidance for Beat Level Editing, you can sign up for Beat Level Consultations. Sometimes writers need the accountability and support of regular sessions along with a tight feedback loop to improve their craft. Other times, they need help with a sticking point, and one session is sufficient. You can choose the service you need. 

Beat Level Consultations include a review of 15 pages of writing and a one-hour call with me to discuss what’s working, what can be improved, and next steps. If you’ve been through the Beat Level Diagnostic, we can work through the recommendations in your next steps letter.

 

One-Time Beat Level Consultation

What do I get?

Your one-time Beat Level Consultation includes:

  • A one-hour Skype or phone call to discuss your current challenge or 15 pages of your work,
  • Customized writing assignments to help you improve what needs work, and
  • Two weeks of email support following our call.

Is a one-time Beat Level Consultation right for me?

If the following thoughts have crossed your mind, you might be ready for a one-time Beat Level Consulation.

  • “I have one issue that I really need advice on.”
  • “I feel stuck and could do with talking over the options with an expert.”
  • “I don't know know if my idea is worth persuing.”

If you’re still unsure, contact us now, and we can talk about the best options for making your story great.

What is the cost and time frame?

  • The investment for a one-time Beat Level Consultation is $150 and is due in full when booking your session.
  • We will schedule our one-hour call at a mutually convenient time, and you will receive two weeks of email support following our call.
  • Our availability varies, but we will accommodate your scheduling needs whenever we can. As a general rule, we recommend that you contact us two to three months before your manuscript will be ready for review.
 

On-Going Beat Level Consultations

What do I get?

Your on-going Beat Level Consultations include:

  • A one-hour Skype or phone call to discuss 15 pages of your work each week for four weeks,
  • Customized writing assignments each week for four weeks, and
  • Email support between calls and for two weeks following our final call.

Are on-going Beat Level Consultations right for me?

If the following thoughts have crossed your mind, you might be ready for on-going Beat Level Consulations.

  • “I’ve been through a diagnostic and applied the recommendations. Now I need to know how I can make my story even stronger.”
  • “I need support and accountability as I continue to work on my story at the level of paragraphs and sentences.”
  • “My story structure is solid, but the way I tell my story could use more work.”
  • “I need feedback as I revise so that I know I’m moving in the right direction.”

If you’re still unsure, contact us now, and we can talk about the best options for making your story great.

What is the cost and time frame?

  • The investment for on-going Beat Level Consultations is $500 and is due in full when booking your first session.
  • We will schedule our one-hour calls at mutually convenient times, and you will receive email support between calls and for two weeks following our final call.
  • Though availability varies, we suggest you inquire with at least three months' notice for us to be able to accommodate your preferred time frame. That said, we will certainly try and work with shorter time frames wherever we can.