“Honest criticism means nothing:
what one wants is unrestrained passion,
fire for fire.”
I love helping writers and have been working towards that in a variety of ways. From creating a local author meet and greet for regional writers, to restarting my editing work when the opportunity to write and edit full time presented itself.
I prefer to focus on substantive editing, which is between developmental editing and copy editing, meaning I do work on the substance of a draft with line work. My own use of a developmental editor grew from knowing that there was something seriously wrong with either the plot or pacing of my book. The manuscript felt done. Everything seemed to be in place, but even after my copy editor went through it, I knew it still had serious problems. That is why writers hire editors, even if they edit, for a fresh and useful perspective. My developmental editor, bless her, took my manuscript, and ruthlessly called me on a number of issues which helped me put it into shape. She did not work on any language use or grammar.
Substantive edit lands between those two editing places. That wonderful realm of not quite done enough for final edits, but still needs work on substance, not fixing the entire structure of the plot.
Why do I prefer this editing space? Because it’s a lot of fun, and I get to see emerging talent before anyone else.
I have a wide variety of interests, from Regency England to Filipino Martial Arts, and grew up in a household influenced by multiple cultures. I know that—as seen in various manuscript—that filling a bag with only sand to create a heavy bag is probably only going to break the gentleman’s hand because of the way sand settles when you hang even a modern heavy bag. I know that a character’s random choice isn’t going to be why the planned kidnapping is successful. I’m well aware that a gentleman in Georgian England isn’t going to call his servants by their first name.
I know enough about poisons, magic, fortunetelling, science and so on to tell if something is hinky in a draft, and will share references, offer suggestions to help the writer. That’s part of the fun. There’s also character development, pacing and plot and… what’s not to like with any part of a manuscript no matter how rough?
More, one thing in all the years I’ve worked with new writers that I’ve learned? No matter how rough the manuscript, the writer always has everything they need within that draft. The elements might be obscured, in the wrong place, need to be dragged into the light, or set back. It might just need a shift in language use to aid it towards clarity. It is why I love working with fairly rough manuscripts for my meat, even while I proof and review manuscripts for my writer friends for my tea.
What I offer:
Substantive Editing: $3/page, standard manuscript format.
If your document is not SMF, there will be an additional charge for me to get it into shape. I like working with new writers, including people who don’t know what SMF is. I like being a guide, and I don’t have a problem getting a manuscript into the format still standard in the industry.
For more information you can use this handy contact form here, though sometimes the form doesn’t get into my inbox readily. I do check my server, which is the only place I’ve actually ever seen any “web inquiry” mail, but not on a daily basis. I find messages far more quickly through facebook.
Other editors to contact“
Laura Ownbey of Red Pen Reviews. She’s the person I use for my books, both developmental and line editing. I’m thrilled that I found her! http://redpenreviews.blogspot.com/p/editing.html
Lorin Oberwerger, Free Expressions. She also works with Brenda Windenberg, who I respect. Lorin helps run seminars, is a published author, and a well respected editor.
Let them know I sent you.
of my past work
David Henry, March 20, 2008. “Wow, I just finished reading and starting to implement your changes on chapter 4 and am absolutely delighted; you clearly know how to deftly wield both a scalpel and a chainsaw. This was a chapter that clearly needed a fair bit of both…. I knew I was happy with ch 3; it almost wrote itself, but you managed to find places to improve….I’m happy I stumbled into contact with you.”J
John Cothran, December 4, 2006 “In regard to editing and proofing, I must say you are the best person I worked with on the book…You are a fantastic editor! I really enjoyed working ith you, you are so thoughtful in all writing situations. You are a joy to work with!”
Ben Mack, author Think Two Products Ahead.” 26 October 2007
“Maria Boers Morris tackled my madness and made me more accessible. Her editing brought out a more powerful magic than I could have on my own. Furthermore, having worked now with 4 professional editors… Maria brought out the best in me. Hire her if she is available. Email me for a specific reference if I may help. Sincerely.”
Cam Cairns, fiction author. “Maria sees where the writing fails the author’s intent. Moreover, she does this in a structured way so flaws in dialog, character, plot, narration and style become obvious and accessible. Her analysis will help any committed author take their work to the next level.”
Though I’m limiting myself to just substantive editing, I thought you might like to know my experience:
In no particular order, here are some interesting books I’ve either fact checked or copy edited, or worked on in some other way.
Marshall Cavendish Benchmark
In the past several years, I’ve fact checked a number of books for Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. Since 2008, I have also been copy editing for them. Here are a few authors I’ve had the privilege to work with.
Of all the books I’ve worked on with Kathryn, the one that moved me the most was Life in the Medieval Muslim World. The book on Faith inspired mine, and the series on the whole offered me greater understanding of Muslim history.
Among the books of Rebecca’s I’ve enjoyed working on are those in theSecrets of the Supernatural series. These books were interesting series to fact check. Besides fueling my book addiction habit, the series balances critical-thinking skills with folklore:
This is a book I’m proud to have worked on. It is informative and fun. John took twenty years assembling information on artists, musicians, leaders, and writers that contributed to our great nation.
Ben is a client that always brings me interesting work and does not hesitate in challenging me. I adore working with him.
The last challenge was cutting Poker Without Cards: A Consciousness Thriller in half for an iPhone version. His books make me think, as well as inspire. He’s also a great deal of fun to talk to. Think Two Products ahead was a fun edit as well as an interesting read.
Freelance publishing professional, June 2003 – present
- Substantive edit, copy edit, proofread, fact check, indexes, and transcription.
- Research print and online references to ensure accurate information in text books.
- Follow Chicago, but will work with MLA, AP and APA styles for consistency, clarity and accuracy.
Partial list of clients and projects:
- Donna Governor, PhD. 12/2009-1/2011: Transcription: qualitative interviews for academic research; transcription and formatting for dissertation for Teaching and Learning Science through Song.
- Nevada Math and Science Leadership Cadre 1/2011: Transcription.
- Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2004 – 11/2010: Fact checking and copy editing. Books include Life in Ancient Egypt series; Elizabeth and Her Court series; Secrets of the Supernatural series; Life in the Medieval Muslim World series; Barbarians! series and many from the American Heroes series.
- Ben Mack, 2006 – 2008: Copy edited Think Two Products Ahead; copy edited Poker Without Cards: A Consciousness Thriller for print, then abridged for iPhone, keeping intact the plot, memetic and marketing information intrinsic to the story.
- Janet Eriksson, 2003 – 2007: Through CrickettWorks, Blessings Abundant, and Cassia Ministries: copy editing, proofreading, indexing, photo layout and creating an online bookstore. Books included Dance in the River, Choosing Love, T11 and Bail Bonds 101. Copy edited articles for Reflections online magazine.
- Individual projects include John Cothran’s A Search of African American Life, Achievement and Culture; E. Ike’s Using Quicken with High Speed; Cam Cairns’s Sentinels (working title), plus dissertations, graduate papers, and short stories.