Substantive Editing

A substantive edit is a rigorous edit that seeks to refine a document or manuscript on a structural level. I will call into attention issues with the development of plot, voice, character, and theme. While I will offer advice on a line-by-line level (for instance, distracting punctuation choices), this type of edit will not include an in-depth proofread. After all, there's no point finessing the grammar in a scene that mightn't even make the final cut. I am particularly interested in verse novels, memoirs from minority voices, and fiction with a literary slant. I find distinctions between literary fiction and genre fiction are often elitist and unconvincing, so by ‘literary slant’, I mean work where language and theme drive the plot and not the other way around. As such, I will happily accept language-driven works of horror and young adult fiction, but I fear crime, fantasy, and science fiction are outside of my area of expertise. Rates: $18 per 1 000 words


Unlike a substantive edit, proofreading is less concerned with the overarching shape of a document and more concerned with the fiddly, line-by-line details, such as spelling, punctuation, and syntax. Since proofreading isn't a genre-specific endeavour, I will gladly proofread any document. Note: Certain grammatical preferences (for example: Oxford commas, double or single quotation marks, and references) are more of a reflection of stylistic preference than any hard-and-fast rule. If you are writing for a particular academic institution or publication, I encourage you to send any relevant style guides with your document. (You should be able to find these on the website of your institution or intended publication.) If no style guide is provided, documents will be edited in line with recommendations from Wiley's Style Manual: For Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th Edition. Rates: $15 per 1 000 words

Poetry Editing

Since poetry is typically more linguistically economical than prose, I use somewhat of a dual approach to editing it. A poetry edit will merge a substantive edit with a proofread. This means I will evaluate the overall shape of the poem and how successfully it resolves its key images and themes while also checking for spelling errors and grammatical consistency. If you're interested in having a collection of poems edited, I will also include editorial feedback on how the sequencing of poems coheres with your artistic vision. Rates: 1 to 2 poems: $1 per line 3 to 5 poems: $0.75 per line 6 poems and above (including chapbooks and collection): $0.50 per line

If you're interested in a service, feel free to contact me. I'd love to discuss your project! 


'Ariel’s demeanour is warm and generous — but she has the sharpest eye for detail that I’ve ever worked with! She spots every errant comma and pulls me up on every cliché. Nothing is lost on her. She always picks up on what I want to say in a piece of writing — no matter how vague I am — and my work is always better after a workshopping session with her.'

Emma Darragh, PhD candidate

© 2020 Ariel Bartlett