Wendy's editing and proofreading experiences range from cleaning up advertising copy to red-penciling novel galleys. When editing, her goals are to encourage the written voice, improve the ease of reading, and attend to grammar and punctuation matters. With each project she provides typewritten comments that outline all facets of a piece, from the big picture to the small details.
Clients include Martin J. Etchart, The Good Oak, (University of Nevada Press, 2004); Jonathan Marshall, Reunion in Norway, (Ruder Finn Press, 2004); Martha Kent, Children of the Magnificent Earth (published in Germany under the title Eine Porzellanscherbe im Graben, Scherz Verlag, 2003); Hutelmyer & Puzzi Advertising; and Hayden's Ferry Review.
Excerpt of an editing critique for a children's book manuscript:
Overall, I like the story a lot. The verses have a good rhythm and rhyme scheme, the boys and the trouble they get into are quirky and inventive, and the narrator's perspective on all the action is inviting. Here are a few suggestions to think about when revising:
- The matter of the inner and the outer story: This is a macro story suggestion. Think about “Where the Wild Things Are.” The outer story is the beef that Max has with his mom, which gets him sent to his room. The inner story is the imaginative adventure that Max then takes. Eventually the outer and the inner stories merge when Max comes back from his journey and he finds his dinner waiting for him. And it was still hot. The best stories/books have an interplay between what's going on in the external world around the main characters and what's going on inside the characters that prompts them to respond and react and eventually brings some sort of resolution or resonance. By extension, I'm wondering if you can add a little more outer story to the book. Pretty quickly we find out why Calvin is crying. But what's at stake? What's the goal? What's the journey that he takes? Consider setting up the stanzas as snapshots of predicaments (think visually; show, show, show) that build from one to the other, step by step, based on a circumstance (the boys are supposed to be taking naps?) and with a particular goal in mind (getting ice cream at the end?). Right now the story doesn't feel like it's anchored in one place and at one time (there are friends with kids mentioned, but then they disappear; Calvin is supposed to be taking a nap but he wakes up early and then later on he's threatened with having to take one again?; the boys are inside the house ... no, wait ... they're outside the house ... no ... they're inside again?). If you're more methodical with the structure of the story, I think your ending will present itself organically.
- The weight of each word: This is a micro story suggestion. As good as your rhyme scheme is, occasionally there are some lines that don't seem to fit with the rest of the story, i.e. “Sometimes I think my life's inside an old ‘B' picture show.” Yeah, I understand it but I'm not sure it's relevant when you could be describing something specific that's going on (One time Grady rolled Calvin in chocolate chip cookie dough ... ). Each line of each stanza should serve the story so parse accordingly.
- Don't be afraid to allow the narrator to be a dad. The point of view opportunities are wide and unique. Go for it.