Editing Services by Ronlyn Domingue. Manuscript critiques, developmental editing, and copyediting from an internationally published author with 15 years of experience.
As an author—like you—I understand the triumphs, joys, struggles, and blocks that are part of writing a book. I’ve felt the frissons from jotting a perfect line, the despair when the words vanish, the anticipation when pieces fit into place, and the strange intimacy with characters in another world.
I know, too, the objectivity and skills necessary to take a manuscript to the next level, not only for my own books but also for writers who’ve worked with me as an editor. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the parts must be scrutinized down to their basic elements, chapter to scene to sentence to word. Inconsistencies must be discovered then resolved, gaps found and filled. One must be vigilant about clichés, dialogue tags, conjugation, and other such details.
As an editor who writes, I balance the technicality of Craft with the mystery of Art. A literary form of alchemy, perhaps.
My intent with every writer I work with is to —provide frank, thoughtful, and holistic feedback; —reveal the potential yet untapped, both in you and your book; —offer concrete guidance to ease the revision process; —kindle your excitement for the project; and —bolster your confidence in what you’ve done and what you’ll accomplish next.
I’m primed to help a writer who plans to —get an agent; —deliver a finely wrought manuscript to her/his editor; —self publish; or —approach small or university presses.
EXPERIENCE AND CREDENTIALS I hold a MFA degree in creative writing from Louisiana State University, taught composition and fiction writing at the college level, and served as a fiction editor and co-editor in chief of New Delta Review. In my positions within the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, I’ve written and edited corporate presentations, research reports, agency newsletters, and federal, state, and foundation grants. During the past 15 years, I’ve edited and mentored writers of fiction and nonfiction, from short stories to memoirs.
I’m also the author of four novels. The Mercy of Thin Air, my critically acclaimed debut, was published in 10 languages and was a fiction finalist for the 2005 Borders Original Voices Award and 2006 SIBA Book Award. The Mapmaker's War, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, and The Plague Diaries are the books of the Keeper of Tales Trilogy.My essays and short stories have appeared in New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, and Shambhala Sun as well as on mindful.org, The Nervous Breakdown, and Salon.com. For a complete list, visit http://www.ronlyndomingue.com/booksetc.
GENRES AND TYPES OF PROJECTS A skilled editor can edit almost anything. However, as a writer, you want someone who has experience with and enthusiasm for the project you’re doing. We’re more likely to be a match if your work overlaps with at least one of my interest areas.
Fiction (novels, novellas, books in a trilogy or series) • Speculative fiction (fantasy, magical realism, fabulist, slipstream, paranormal, mythopoeic) • General fiction • Historical fiction • Literary fiction
Note: The following projects will not be a fit for me—science fiction, dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction, or any work that involves excessive, graphic violence or abuse toward animals or humans.
Note: I’m particularly interested in nature, ecology, social justice, human rights, feminism, metaphysical/non-ordinary topics, and holistic medicine.
DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING SERVICES
First 75 Pages (up to 18,500 words) This is for a writer who wants an objective response to their book’s opening chapters. Typically, it’s a critique for writers who are planning to query agents or editors soon, but it would be helpful to someone thinking through mid-stage or later draft.
The Critique: This critique will have a general overview of the book’s main elements—character, plot, point of view, setting, and theme—and assess how effectively they’re working to tell your story. In terms of craft, such as tightening dialogue or pacing, I’ll make some suggestions. If there are repetitious errors or writer tics, I’ll point them out within the first 10 to 25 pages. Because the opening pages are crucial to hooking an agent’s or editor’s attention, I’ll share my impression and offer ideas to strengthen them, if that’s necessary.
What You Will Receive: You’ll get your manuscript with some Track Changes and an editorial letter with my evaluation, suggestions, and questions. The letter will be between three and 10 pages long and focus on your book’s particular needs.
Post-Critique Support: This option includes one email from you to ask brief follow-up questions.
Fee: $500 (flat)
Partial Manuscript (minimum 25,000 words) This is for a writer who wants a detailed assessment of a work-in-progress but isn’t ready to share, or hasn’t completed, the ending. This might be a first draft or a later revision.
The Critique: I’ll take a close look at your book’s main elements—character, plot, point of view, setting, and theme. As I’m reading, I’ll mark places where you could compress or expand your narrative, alert you to your writer tics and style quirks, and note gaps and inconsistencies. In terms of craft, such as tightening dialogue, I’ll make some suggestions. If there are repetitious errors, I’ll point them out within the first 10 to 25 pages. My written critique will include insights into the story and its characters as well as questions and suggestions to guide your revision.
What You Will Receive: Your manuscript will have Track Changes, and you will receive an editorial letter. Manuscripts with few Track Changes typically have longer letters (four to 20 pages), while those with many Track Changes often have shorter letters (three to 10 pages). Either way, the feedback will specifically address your book’s needs.
Post-Critique Support: You may schedule an optional one-hour phone conversation within 30 days after I return your manuscript and/or email me on occasion with questions for three months after delivery.
Fee: $100 per hour
To estimate the approximate fee for your manuscript, review the word/page counts here. (Typically, early drafts and works written with dense, complex prose take more time to critique.) 25,000 words (100 pages)—typical range 10–14 hours 50,000 words (200 pages)—typical range 14–18 hours 75,000 words (300 pages)—typical range 20–24 hours
Full Manuscript This is for a writer who wants a thorough assessment of a complete draft with a beginning, middle, and end.
The Critique: In most ways, the approach will be the same as with a partial manuscript. I’ll take a close look at how your book’s main elements—character, plot, point of view, setting, and theme—are working together to tell your story. As I’m reading, I’ll mark places where you could compress or expand your narrative, alert you to your writer tics and style quirks, and note gaps and inconsistencies. In terms of craft, such as tightening dialogue, I’ll make some suggestions. If there are repetitious errors, I’ll point them out within the first 10 to 25 pages.
With a full manuscript, I can reflect on the story’s entirety, which includes the way characters change (or don’t), the narrative’s arc, the story’s structure, and more. If the work is still sorting itself out, there will be hints scattered in the text about what the story and who the characters want to be. My written critique will include recommendations to fine-tune the big picture, insights into the story and its characters, and questions and suggestions to guide your revision.
What You’ll Receive: Your manuscript will have Track Changes, and you will receive an editorial letter. Manuscripts with few Track Changes typically have longer letters (five to 30 pages), while those with many Track Changes often have shorter letters (three to 15 pages).
Post-Critique Support: You may schedule an optional one-hour phone conversation within 30 days after I return your manuscript and/or email me on occasion with questions for six months after delivery.
Fee: $100 per hour
To estimate the approximate fee for your manuscript, review the word/page counts here. (Typically, early drafts and works written with dense, complex prose take more time to critique.) 25,000 words (100 pages)—typical range 10–14 hours 50,000 words (200 pages)—typical range 14–18 hours 75,000 words (300 pages)—typical range 20–24 hours 100,000 words (400 pages)—typical range 25–30 hours
COPYEDITING When a book, story, or essay is finished at last, it’s time to check grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, syntax, diction, sentence clarity, and continuity. Rewriting should be minimal at this point. (Proofreading, not copyediting, is the final step before a manuscript is sent out to agents or goes to print.)
My fee is $40 per hour. For a manuscript in decent shape, here’s an estimate of the average time it’ll take. 50,000 words (200 pages)—50 hours 75,000 words (300 pages)—75 hours 100,000 words (400 pages)—100 hours 125,000 words (500 pages)—125 hours
CONTACT ME If you’re interested in working with me, these are the next steps.
Send an email to ronlyndomingue [at] gmail [dot] com. Please include the following information. 1. The title, genre, and total word count of your work. 2. A brief synopsis/description of your project. 3. A brief summary of your project’s history (such as how many months/years you’ve been working on it; whether this is an early draft or near-finished revision). 4. A brief overview of your publication plans (get an agent, submit work to a small press, etc.). 5. Attach your manuscript's first 50 pages.
I’ll read your material and contact you within seven business days. If it looks like we’re a potential match, we’ll schedule a free, 20-minute phone conversation to talk things over.
TESTIMONIALS "One of the best things I have ever done was ask Ronlyn Domingue to edit my novel. Her feedback and observations were an invaluable second sight into my story, my writing, and myself. She has the ability to see things you haven't and is able to make you turn a fresh—yet still honest—eye to your own writing. As a result, you truly begin to see the real story lurking beneath the surface of your words. I rewrote 75% of my novel, it no longer resembles what it used to be, and because of that, I have fallen even more in love with my characters and my story. Ronlyn's critiques are never harsh, but they are firm and fair. In just a few short months after working with her and making the edits to my story, I am in awe as to how much of a better writer I have become because of her gentle guidance and critical eye. It has been such a lucky honor to have had the opportunity to work with this visionary writer and editor." —Jules Archer, author of novel-yet-untitled
“Ronlyn Domingue is an incredible editor whose insights I have relied on at all stages of my novels in progress. She reads deeply, sees what you're trying to accomplish, and gives her honest and yet never soul-crushing advice for how to best achieve your goals. She sees the big picture and talks about how to create those themes specifically within the text. Her line edits tighten the piece so that it's still your voice, your words, but in sharper focus, highlighting the poetry and the movement of the story. I recommend her without hesitation, not only for manuscript editing but also for confidence building.” —Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue and The Flicker of Old Dreams
“Ronlyn is a meticulous reader who is able to see both the big picture and the details. She understands—deeply, intuitively—how patterns of subtle particulars come together to build a whole, whether that whole is a world, a mythos, a character, or an effect. When you're not quite done figuring out a story, she has a knack for asking just the right questions to show you what is missing. She has been reading and critiquing my fiction for almost two decades. I don't know what I'd do without her critical eye.” —Mary McMyne, winner of the 2007 Faulkner Prize for a Novel in Progress and author of Wolf Skin, winner of the Elgin Chapbook Award
"It is a common myth that writing is a solo endeavor. We might sit down at the page alone, but check the acknowledgments section of any novel and it becomes clear. Any successful writing project requires support. In my opinion, Ronlyn provides an entire acknowledgement page's worth of support. She has an unparalleled ability to delve into a text to help you through the central issues of storytelling. Ronlyn combines the deep work of a developmental editor with the razor-sharp skills of a copyeditor. As a result, she has been able to help me bring my visions to fruition. Many writing books can teach craft—but few people can help anchor a writer in craft and simultaneously guide a writer as he or she dives into a story. Ronlyn is one of those rare gems." —Penelope Dane, MFA, PhD, winner of the 2015 Faulkner-Wisdom Prize for an Essay and winner of the Ann Veronica Simon Dissertation Award
"Let me tell you about Ronlyn Domingue: She's the best. When I had pieces but no whole of my memoir, Ronlyn very generously and meticulously combed through all the words to find the thread and shape it. I STILL go back to the notes she wrote on my manuscript, now five years ago, despite the fact that it's gone through so many changes, it's not even the same story. But more than that, despite my unorthodox approach (mixing my father's art with my words), Ronlyn never questioned the vision, which has been the most challenging part of Living in Twilight for all wordsmiths. She critiqued well but never insensitively. One of my early readers, while skimming over her notes, said, 'My god. This is a master's class in writing.'" —Quenby Moone, author of Living in Twilight
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