Expert Editing, Customized Coaching

Even the smartest people can have trouble putting themselves onto paper. You need an expert on your side.

I’m Mary DeDanan, a freelance editor, book coach, and writer. My decades of experience means you get a rich mix of solid wordsmithing techniques, brightened by artistic discernment and honed by real-world knowledge of what works.

I approach editing as the gentle art of invisible improvement. My aim is a final draft that’s clear, clean, concise, and irresistibly engaging — and that preserves your distinctive voice.

As a book coach, I help writers like yourself, whether pros or beginners, with compassionate support and clear direction, tailored to your unique needs.

No matter what your project, make sure your words will speak well of you, because quality tells.

editing means options

Different writers need different edits.

Line and copy edits are appropriate for every style of manuscript. In a line edit I tighten and trim prose, clarify meaning, maintain internal consistency, cast out clichés, rein in jargon, and find alternatives for overused words. With a copy edit I correct grammar, syntax, usage, spelling, and punctuation, as well as formatting problems. Often line and copy edits work together to make your text spark and sparkle.

In a developmental edit, I analyze what’s working and what’s not, then suggest ways to revise your material. I’ll show you how to balance your intentions with the needs of your readers, and repair the structural gaps. A developmental edit fixes the big picture. Naturally, that means something quite different in a novel than a nonfiction book.

What level of editing is right for your project? Many manuscripts need the full monty: developmental, line, and copy editing. A few texts are beautifully styled line by line, but meander off track; these might call for a developmental edit only, with a final polish. Some manscripts are already well-structured and read clearly, and simply need a copy clean up. See more on your editorial options here.

When you work with me, you get the “just right” edit you need, for the same low hourly rate. You don’t pay extra for different types of editing.

how coaching works

Don’t yet have a manuscript? I can help you turn a morass of raw ideas into succinct, convincing prose, while developing your own voice. Let’s strategize to manage procrastination, move past blocks and avoidance, and rewire your habits. Maybe you need someone to set deadlines for you, and really mean it. Whatever it takes, together we’ll bring out your best and see your writing projects through to completion.

tech notes

    I can edit in …

  • Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages, using track changes and comments
  • Acrobat with PDF mark up
  • WordPress for blogs
  • InDesign for layout text
  • Dreamweaver for websites
  • I work on the Mac platform, which will translate PC files.
  • I use the industry standard reference, Chicago Manual of Style, currently in its 17th edition. (I started when the 14th edition was in vogue.)