Meticulous, dedicated editor, writer, researcher, teacher, who loves to help authors and student writers make their most factual words come alive and tell a story
I grew up in a home where language and writing were taken for granted. My father was a history professor and Classical scholar, so Latin and Greek words were everyday parts of family conversation. It never occurred to me that they were weird or unusual.
When I was seven, my father accepted a post as historian with NATO. We had been living in London where he was conducting research at the British Museum. His NATO work, however, took us to Paris for the next twelve years. I attended a French school, and quickly became bilingual. It was scary at first, but I ended up adoring my school, and my family settled happily into our small French community near Versailles.
Both my parents were storytellers. They surrounded me with books and stories, and they taught me the value of words. With their encouragement, I began writing my own stories (and illustrating them) early on. I fell in love with the shape of words, and with their sounds. To me, they had colors which conveyed the feel of them. I struggled to string them together so that they would hold a felt sense of vitality and meaning.
College and graduate school, with their deeper studies of languages and literature, both English and foreign, only increased my love of words. Now, when I work with authors -- not only those in the Humanities, but also those in the Social Sciences -- I try constantly to help them find the words that bring their writing alive in an authentic way. There is no reason why the most factual document cannot be interesting and accessible. It's simply a question of organizing and expressing it clearly, in language that makes readers want to read further.
I'm in love with the writing process. Writing is like painting. Every word exists in relation to all the others, but you have to get the relationships right -- like color harmonies or deliberate dissonances. Because no matter how dry the topic, writing is always about human communication. And communication depends upon relationships.
Depending upon the complexity of the project, my hourly fee for editing is $35-$40, and for writing, it is $25-$30. I work swiftly, in a concentrated way, and I always proofread my work.
Complexity might entail bibliographical and citation research, which generally takes longer, as it demands 100% accuracy. Verifying quotations (for instance, with the Library of Congress, WorldCat, etc.) takes considerably more time as well.
Sometimes authors want me to help them re-frame sections of their manuscripts. I love doing this kind of developmental editing, but it does make the editing process longer.
I am also open to a predetermined fee, with a contract which details its terms. However, I really need first to read at least a sample of the manuscript and discuss with the author exactly what he or she has in mind. That way, the author and I can decide whether I'm the right fit for the project, and whether the predetermined fee is realistic.
While I do work quickly as both editor and writer, I prefer not to have "rush" jobs because I can't give them my best. However, I appreciate reasonable deadlines, and always meet them.