Manuscript Consulting

Through consulting with me, you will recognize the strengths and weakness of your manuscript, what its most compelling focus and corresponding structure is, and what revisions are needed.

I have been a manuscript consultant and editor for over twenty years. I prefer face-to-face consults but if you live at a distance, we can make that work too. Manuscript development and substantive editing are my most sought-after skills. I also do line edits and copy editing on creative nonfiction manuscripts, nonfiction (essays, memoir, etc.), poetry, mixed genre and experimental fiction manuscripts.

 

Betsy and Cathie Borrie at her launch of The Long Hello published by Simon and Schuster

Betsy and Cathie Borrie at her launch of The Long Hello published by Simon and Schuster

Betsy Warland manuscript consulting with a writerWhy work with Betsy?

Writers and authors with whom I’ve done manuscript development and editing have gone on to publish books, and to win, or be shortlisted for, prizes such as these:

  • Griffin Award
  • B.C. Book Award
  • Pat Lowther Award
  • Writers’ Trust Award
  • Great B.C. Novel Contest
  • CBC Literary Competition
  • City of Victoria Butler Award
  • Maritimes Poets’ Corner Award
  • Trillium Book Award of Toronto
  • Surrey Writers’ Guild International Competition
I would recommend working with Betsy because she is interested in the truth of the text: what it needs to be versus what you want it to be. These can be very different. As well as caring for the line itself, Betsy tunes to the space between the words. She is like a feng shui master for writing.

Photo credit: Elee Elee Kraljii Gardiner

Working with Betsy was the single best thing I could have done to make my poems publication ready. With her wealth of literary experience and knowledge and her fine poet’s ear and eye, she helped me turn a loose collection of rough poems into a polished, coherent whole which I was then able to submit (and have accepted) for publication as my debut collection, Refugee Song.

Photo credit: Sarah Hollett Lawrence Feuchtwanger

Choose from three types of manuscript assessment consults or a manuscript development consult

1. Initial mini-assessment and consultation

I read, assess and write editorial comments and suggestions on a portion of your manuscript OR selection from your body of work that may be the basis for a manuscript. Then we have a consultation to discuss my suggestions for how you can move forward with your revisions. You then continue to work independently.

3. Initial full assessment, consultation and editing to finished draft

I read, assess and write editorial comments and suggestions on your manuscript and we meet to discuss how you can proceed with revisions and additional writing. I usually do detailed line edits on a portion of the manuscript to illustrate improvements needed throughout.

I repeat the process once you have given me your rewrite. At this point, if needed, I proceed with substantive edits, structural suggestions and and I do line edits throughout the manuscript. The number of these rounds, and their frequency, is up to you. The goal is usually to bring the manuscript to finished draft. In this arrangement, I often advise on the publishing process.

2. Initial full assessment and consultation

I read, assess and write editorial comments and suggestions on your manuscript OR your entire body of work that may be the basis for a manuscript. Then we have a consultation to discuss the focus and structure of your manuscript and what my suggestions are for how you can move forward with your revisions and new writing that is required. You then continue to work independently.

4. Manuscript development consultation

We meet and I ask you a number of questions about your manuscript idea, then suggest how you might begin writing. Sometimes, prior to the consult discussion, a writer will send me a few pages of writing that example what she or he is interested in finding out how to develop more.

Or, another approach is when I read from a broad range of your writing, then we discuss the pieces of writing I find most compelling and I suggest how you can generate more writing.

You then either work independently or continue to work with me.

Having had the good fortune to work with Betsy Warland on my first two manuscripts, I can happily recommend her. She has an amazing ability to shape a manuscript beautifully, carefully, successfully, whether that manuscript is a collection of poetry, a work of non-fiction or mixed genre. Blessed with unique literary vision and sensibility, she is simply one of the best. Both my manuscripts were subsequently published and one of them won an important award!

 

Photo credit: Ryan Rock

Arleen Paré, Governor General's Award for Poetry

B.C. Writer Mentor Award 2011, interview by Bonnie Nish

I recommend working with Betsy for every reason you might have to want to improve your writing, clarify your understanding of your writing, and to learn how it might fit into the world. Without Betsy Warland, I would not have written and completed my memoir, The Long Hello, would never have self published it in 2010, and finally (ecstatically), would not be noting here that it has been acquired by Simon & Schuster, Canada, for a January 2015 publication. This is what she has done for me and my words.

Simply: A secular-ish hallelujah to you, word wizard, Betsy Warland!

Photo credit: Eclipse photography Cathie Borrie

Referrals to other author/manuscript consultants

If I am fully booked or think I’m not the best fit for your manuscript, I make referrals. Contact me if you wish to inquire about manuscript consultation or any of my other services.