Jane Ratcliffe

Developmental Editor – Coach

Jane Ratcliffe

Developmental Editor - Coach

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Writing can be fun; joyful even. Cathartic. When we start a story, all the voices in our head that might have previously been alarming begin to make sense. This is exciting! But it’s also hard work. And sometimes confusing. As writers, we can get too deeply inside our own story. Maybe we fall prey to tunnel vision. Maybe we hit a brick wall. Maybe we just need someone to read what we have and help us take the next step. Feedback, guidance, moral support: these are all part of the process. And whether it’s your first project or you’ve been down this path many times before, I can help.

At heart, I’m a developmental editor—and I love helping writers get these magnificent and complex worlds out of their heads and onto the page. I help you figure out what’s missing, what’s too much, what needs to be teased out. Which direction has the most promise. How to coax that pile of words into a coherent story. I keep an eye on pacing, structure, plot, characterization, tension. But am also rigorous about word choice (and repetition!), as well as the sound of the language. My basic philosophy is let’s find what you’re doing well and build on that. Naturally, I also point out places where you’re struggling and provide suggestions (sometimes mini-tutorials). But more often than not, as a writer develops their strengths their weaknesses inherently improve.

I’m also a writer, so I’m well acquainted with this journey. My comments (which on early drafts are usually lengthy and numerous) are a combination of challenge and support. I do my best to push your writing as far as it can go while holding your hand as you take it there.

With some writers, I’ve been present from the first paragraph they’ve ever written straight through to a published novel. With others, I’ve come on board after the first few chapters or even the first draft was already complete to help the writer figure out just what it is they want to say and how to hone it.

I’m available to help shape novels, short stories, memoirs, or personal essays.