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Editing Philosophy

Much like my life philosophy, my editing philosophy is simple:

My way is not the right way—it is one way.

My objective, when editing any piece of writing, is to maintain the uniqueness of the author’s voice, to gently guide the author to better pave his or her own way

Additionally, I am conscious of the fact that I am not the authority on English usage or literary style–I am merely an authority, one who realizes the absurdity of ever trying to claim the former. Hence, I do not solely rely on what I think I know to inform my editing; I utilize my resources: style manuals, dictionaries, grammar guides, and colleagues. I am not an island.

Living this philosophy, not simply knowing it, helps me communicate with my clients as human beings rather than, well, clients. For me, this is what constitutes an effective and healthy author-editor relationship.


What I Do

In July 2017, I received my Certificate in Editing from the University of Washington. For detailed information about my work history please see my résumé or LinkedIn profile below. You may also contact me directly at john@belmontediting.com.

Editing ResumeLinkedin Profile

In short, I specialize in developmental editing, writing coaching, manuscript evaluation, and copyediting. I edit works of fiction as well as help students produce college-level essays and personal statements for college entry (undergraduate and graduate).

I provide editing services that are best defined by what the Editorial Freelancers Association considers to be the various types of editorial work, some of which are listed here:

  • Developmental Editing: I work with clients to develop a manuscript from initial concept, outline, or draft; and make suggestions about content and organization.
  • Manuscript Evaluation and Coaching (fiction): I provide feedback for an author about his or her manuscript to help determine the level and scope of any future editing it may may need. This includes the creation of a formal document in which I summarize each chapter and assess literary elements, such as tone, voice, clarity, point of view, plot, character development, pacing, theme, and structure. I also return a unique version of the author’s manuscript in which I have made more targeted comments using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature.
  • Copyediting: I correct spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text. I check for or impose a consistent style and format while preparing a style sheet that reflects this style and format. Moist importantly, I do no harm: I query the client about apparent errors or inconsistencies.

I base my rates on ranges that the EFA suggests for the various types of editorial services. Those general rates can be found here: https://www.the-efa.org/rates/

I am also an active member of the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.


Editing Samples

The following are samples of my editing work. They are in pdf format. Each sample will have two versions: one which shows my tracked changes in MS Word, and the other is a cleaned, final version of the document.

Sample 1: The Glass Vampire – Chapter 20, by David Page

  • Description: This is a work of fiction (dark fantasy) that the author published using CreateSpace. I completed a light copyedit of this 315-page novel. Below are my samples of chapter 20. Click here to learn more about this work and the author at Amazon.com.
  • Tracked changes/edited version:  pdf-icon
  • Cleaned/final version:  pdf-icon

This is a template I use for doing manuscript evaluationspdf-icon For a book-length work, my evaluations are typically between 10-20 pages.


Editing Testimonials

June 8, 2017

John’s editorial work is fantastic. He made great suggestions, figured out the track changes feature for me, and asked really great questions. He did a great job of managing me through the entire process (not an easy task). He was able to set clear goals and keep me on track. I accepted almost all of his proposed changes and enjoyed the back and forth. 

John’s written communications were well crafted, carefully thought out, and super helpful. In person, John is easy to get along with and great to work with. I highly value John’s work and I am looking forward to working with him again!

-David Page, author of The Glass Vampire

October 12, 2016

John reviewed my wife’s essay and fixed grammar/structure/style issues quickly and efficiently. I highly recommend him! I enjoyed working with him. Next time when we need to review an essay, I’ll definitely ask to work with him again.

Marat S.

January 26. 2017

John really helped me focus my thoughts and my writing in my application for my master’s program. I was full of ideas, and he helped me rein them in instead of letting them run amok.

-Gia P.