If not for Jane Ratcliffe, my middle-grade novel would not have been published and shared with the world. With enthusiasm, encouragement and a healthy dose of reality checks, Jane brought her expertise in the true craft of storytelling, err, sharing (as she’d advise) to my manuscript. Undoubtedly, her editing skills – from the big-picture and theme perspective to nitty-gritty word choice for voice authenticity – prepared my story for the eyes of the publishing industry. It’s her balance of writing craft know-how and creative heart that makes Jane a standout editor.
– Jody Lamb, author of Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool (Scribe, 2012), named the 2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year in juvenile fiction.
Jane has an incredible eye for detail. She reads so insightfully, so closely, and so thoughtfully that she is able to inhabit other books as though they were her own, seeking to understand motivation and landscape on the deepest level. Perhaps, most impressively, while she is a critical reader in the best way, she also reads generously, offering the writer the benefit of the doubt when she seeks clarification, encouraging the seeds of the most promising elements to expand into greatness. It probably helps that she’s such a talented writer herself. She understands what makes good writing work, in all of its forms, and she seeks to amplify and spread that excellence.
– Michelle Adelman, author of Piece of Mind (Norton, 2016)
Jane is a keen editor. She puts each manuscript under a microscope while also taking the time to consider it it from 1,000 feet in the sky — the bigger picture, so to speak. Moreover, she is attuned to the voice of each individual writer and works within the natural style of the author to make the work its best. My fiction benefitted immensely from her guidance and her feedback has helped me grow as a writer.
—Jesse Donaldson, author of The More They Disappear (Thomas Dunne Books, 2016)
Jane is a most extraordinary editor. She critiqued my work as I drafted a memoir on life in the Hasidic faith. Jane taught me to dig deep into my voice, to connect with the reader honestly and intimately, and most of all, to always respect the readers intelligence. Jane’s comments are always a delight to read because they reflect a careful reading, are sensitive, encouraging, intelligent, even funny, and never left me thinking about giving up, but also gently led me to make the major revisions I didnt have the courage to consider before Jane made it feel doable. I learned more about finding ways to express myself while writing with Jane as my editor than I ever did in any writing workshop. As a writer who uses words to make sense of the world, the tools I got from working with Jane enhance my life in every way.
– Frieda Vizel, author of An Arranged Marriage (work in progress)
I have worked with Jane for over five years and can attest that as a writing coach/mentor she is nothing short of wonderful. Jane possesses the rare talent of nurturing creative growth and development by tapping into a writer’s own process of self-discovery. While Jane is gentle with feedback, she is also very specific and her critical eye is always spot on. Through her encouragement, she helps to strengthen ‘gut-checks’ into confidence. With her keen sense of understanding and careful guidance she single-handedly led me through the grim forest of wanting to be a writer to actually becoming one. I am honored to have come to know Jane and highly recommend her to anyone who wishes to develop their writing skills.
– Maureen Connolly, author of Beautiful Pieces (work in progress)
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jane Ratcliffe through many iterations of my novel and have enormous gratitude for her style and the impact her work has had on both my writing and my development as a writer. Jane can be surgical and precise in her edits (when needed) without ever cutting away your voice. She responded to my work with dedicated and thoughtful critiques. In areas where I had deficiencies or an absence of plot, Jane did not manufacture or write my story for me but rather posed the questions that would encourage me to better direct my own writing. My favorite kind of editing is that which enables the writer to stretch themselves to their own outer edge. It requires a kind of patience I don’t have – to be able to let someone sit and figure the right things out for themselves, while guiding them toward their own right decision.
Jane has an exceptional ability to distill a story to its finer elements. She can help parcel together characters to make them real but mostly, I am in awe of how patient she can be in offering her advice, taking you through small steps to come to your own realizations. Afterwards, I always realize she’d seen the course or direction my plot was to take all along, far ahead of me – but she wanted me, as the writer to be able to forge my own experiences for me characters – despite the fact that she’d divined the better direction for my plot long before. The thing is, you can feel her pulling you back on course, guiding you, edging you in the right direction so you can go confidently along making your choices.
It has been a gift to work with Jane.
– Robyn Bernstein, author of Strange Matter (work in progress)
As both a teacher and an editor, Jane has an extraordinary gift for knowing what the work needs to come alive. For both of my novels (as well as in her workshops), her help was invaluable in improving structure, character, description, and voice. She has an infallible sense of where plot is missing essential ‘connective tissue’ and for the moments when a character’s actions or motives don’t work, and has excellent suggestions for addressing such issues. Most critically with regard to my work, Jane understood the tone/voice I was going for and helped to keep me true to my vision. Each time she reviewed the manuscript, she provided a detailed summary of 6-8 pages (single-spaced!) with positive feedback on where the writing was working well and a precise analysis of problems areas that might be improved, as well as focused notes and commentary throughout the mss.
In short, her brilliant editorial advice made me a better writer than I ever dreamed I would be. I recommend her highly.
– Shelley Schanfield, author of The Tigress and the Yogi (Self Published, 2016)
After 50 years working in engineering, and having never put pen to paper before, I am now the proud author of a 70,000 word novel, thanks to the expertise and gentle nudging of Jane Ratcliffe.
I had often contemplated on the fact that in 1915, my family’s history was affected by the sinking of the Lusitania. One day, I began to ponder what if the submarine that torpedoed and sank the ship, surfaced and rescued a drowning girl and baby? The notion fascinated me and I enjoyed many days tapping out a13,000 word fiction scenario surrounding the historical event.
I searched the internet for ghost writers as I really felt that this could be an intriguing full-size novel. When Jane read this first effort she said I didn’t need a ghost writer – that I had everything in my own mind, and she would guide me with character development and story enhancement, a few chapters at a time.
So our journey began, and with the help of my wife, who had also never written before, but was captivated by Jane’s fervor, encouragement and definitely great sense of humor, we followed her directions and spent many happy hours and weeks elaborating on the story’s premise. The times we didn’t get round to making her editing suggestions and getting back to her in a timely fashion, she would send a friendly e-mail, hoping that all was well. And so inspired once more, we would continue.
We will be forever grateful for this experience. For complete beginners in story-telling, Jane will change your life as she did ours. I have my own historical novel that my family and friends are enjoying reading. Thank you Jane.
– Bob Netterman, author of The Girl and the Lusitania (Self Published, 2016).
Jane is a brilliant editor. Her feedback always makes me see my writing in a way which is at once new and yet completely sensitive to my work, as though she has special goggles allowing her to discern the best version of a story and help bring it to light. From the smallest details to the largest arc, any narrative would be fortunate to benefit from her meticulous and compassionate insight.
– Rachel Maitra, author of The Magnificent Spiral (work in progress)