My name is
I started in the publishing industry more than twenty-five years ago as a copy editor for many of the Big Six (back then), when we still used red pencils and to fact-check I had to spend a day at the New York Public Library in the stacks. As a developmental editor I work directly with authors as well as through major publishing houses, on titles by New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning authors as well as manuscripts for indie-published and newer writers.
I hold a BA in English literature from Georgia State University and am a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. I’ve had the privilege of leading editing and writing workshops for many writers’ groups, organizations, and conferences, including Sisters in Crime, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Pikes Peak Writers, and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and I contribute to numerous writers’ sites and publications.
My books include a long-held passion project, Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing, a comprehensive, actionable, accessible guide for writers on how to edit their own work. And under my pen name, Phoebe Fox, I’ve been on both sides of the “page”; the most recent of my six novels, The Way We Weren’t, releases with Berkley/Penguin in November of 2021.
My mission, approach, and promise:
Like most of us who work in some aspect of this field, I grew up with a deep love of reading, books, and story. I started writing stories from nearly the time I learned to write—my first “book” was a string-bound construction-paper tome titled (embarrassingly redundantly and ungrammatically) My Autobiography about Me, I Wrote It Myself.
But eventually, I realized my deepest love lay in helping others bring their stories to life, and I’ve dedicated my entire career to that goal.
To me authors (and all creatives) are the bravest of souls, regularly revealing their most naked, vulnerable selves in their art. I have boundless respect for the leap of faith it takes to share that with the world.
Yet as many books, articles, blog posts, classes, webinars, etc., as there are to shed light on the writing process, I’m constantly startled at how little attention is given to the most vital part of creating any story, whether that’s fiction or nonfiction: editing and revising.
These key parts of the process are the heart of what good writing—and effective story—is. I’m willing to lay odds that any story you’ve ever loved has been extensively developed in edits and revision. And the truest thing I know about our craft is this: Writing is revising. Editing and revision are the real work of writing—and often where the story is fully found and developed and the magic happens.
Because most authors were never taught this fact—nor how to edit and revise—many get disheartened when their first draft isn’t publisher-ready, or when the revision process may be more demanding or difficult than they expected. That’s not a reflection of your talent or skill but a completely normal part of the process for nearly all authors, at all levels of experience and skill.
Just as there’s no “right” way to write a story, there’s no right way to edit one, but I help authors find the best version of their creative vision with resources and techniques for developing their stories fully and deeply. Telling a story is about your intentions and your voice; a good edit should enhance it, not alter it.
Good editing should be invisible, helping an author most effectively convey her story and her voice—not taking it over. An editor is a Sherpa, but your story is your mountain peak to scale; our job is simply to utilize our accrued experience and skill to help you summit.
More than anything, I think editing and revision can be wonderfully fun, creative, and satisfying, and it’s my mission to share that feeling of joy and possibility with authors, to help them see that editing and revising—rather than being unpleasant necessary slogs on the road to getting their story in readers’ hands—are often the most fulfilling parts of writing.
It’s magic to watch a story grow, deepen, and develop in the editing process, and I aim to help authors achieve that—whether that’s through working with me or helping them find ways to develop their stories fully on their own.
Being an author shouldn’t require big bucks as a barrier to entry, and for that reason, in addition to my paid work as an editor and educator, I work to offer writers free and affordable resources that will help them learn and polish these skills on their own.
I am not paid by any organization, site, or individual to recommend products or services, and I do not receive affiliate “kickbacks” from any referrals or recommendations I make.
Feel free to explore the site. I’m glad you’re here.