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Literary Services

  • Manuscript Evaluation: I first evaluate a novel or nonfiction manuscript for writing style and for the writer’s storytelling ability. A writer must have an innate talent, rough as it may be, which organizes material from a deeper level to create a cohesive literary work.  I can get a good sense of the author’s ability from reading only one or two chapters. As the Bear & Company acquisition editor, I had only enough time to read two-pages for an initial assessment on each of 5,000 yearly submissions.

  • Manuscript Critique: If I feel that I can take on a manuscript, I will then read the entire work giving the author chapter notes and a full summary at the end. I critique the book’s organization, style and content, its originality and depth. I then suggest a course of action, which may require the author to revise the basic manuscript or parts of it for a second draft. Or, it may be ready for the next step.

  • Editing: If the content and its organization are workable, I can do a light edit for the most egregious lapses in style. But, invariably, after writers see my standard edit/polish, they want me to continue along this line.  Most novice or first-time authors write as they speak, or in the case of professors, write as they lecture—both styles are deficient, and it is what usually keeps them from getting published. I might add that I am a content editor, not a copy editor.

  • Ghostwriting: I do ghostwrite on occasion. This seems to work better with novels, of which I’ve ghostwritten several, than it does for nonfiction that may require specialty knowledge in a particular subject.  But, if the client can provide the necessary framework, I can write the book with their oversight.  What also seems to work is a kind of co-authorship where the author writes the first rough-draft chapters and I rewrite them extensively.

  • Book Proposals: With my background in publishing and marketing, I can usually come up with the best approach to sell a manuscript, usually how I would market it myself as a publisher.  Of course, this works better if the manuscript was shaped along these lines from the start.  After writing catalogue and jacket copy for hundreds of books over the years, I write compelling market-oriented descriptions.

  • Screenwriting: I have been paid or have written spec screenplays for all three of my novels, and several original screenplays.  None of these have been produced. However, David Field, a Hollywood studio executive for years, said I was as good as any  screenwriter in the business.  But, my spiritually elevated screenplays weren’t marketable. I can, however, rewrite or polish more commercial endeavors by clients.

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