Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Manuscript Critiquing Service: The First Five Pages

Over the years, I've edited a number of books that have suffered from choices the author has made regarding style, voice, time, place, or person. Sometimes, the book starts in the wrong place, and the result is too much backstory. There may be a misunderstanding of point of view, a tendency to head-hop, or failure to manage multiple points of view without losing the focus of the narrative.

Often, these books come to me for editing when they are over 100,000 words in length, and some have been as high as 300,000!

For most authors, it's not a problem; they are prepared to go away and redraft, but for others, it feels like there is too much work involved, and so they publish what they've got, or worse, give up and move on with the next project.

Something I've learnt from my own writing is that it's far better to catch these issues early on, and many of my clients appear to share that feeling.

As a result, I'm now accepting works in the early stages of development, or works that the author has completed a draft of and plans to self-edit, but wants some pointers as to where to start.

The Manuscript Critiquing Service I am offering is currently only for the first five pages.

For a flat rate of $25, payable through Paypal, I will provide you with a report on issues of content and copy. The report will be at least 500 words long, and there will also be numerous comments and corrections on the manuscript using the "track changes" facility. I aim to get the report back to you within one week.

Submission requirements:

Please email your first five pages as an attachment to derekprior@yahoo.co.uk in the following format:

1. Word or Pages document

2. Times New Roman 12pt font

3. Double line spacing

4. Text left-aligned

5. Standard margin width

Once I receive your submission, I'll send you an invoice for $25 via Paypal. As soon as the invoice is paid, I will commence work.

Should you decide to request a full edit (any of the services listed in the side bar), I will deduct the cost of the critique from that service.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

2016 Editing Commissions and Client New Releases

It's been a hectic start to 2016. Already in the bag:

Literary (content and copy) edit of The Far Side of Creation (Vanx Malic 7) by M.R. Mathias, and The House by P.M. Prior.

Currently working on a content and copy edit of The Engine Woman's Light by Laurel Anne Hill.

Here's the cover and blurb for The House, which was released today:

It was meant to be a place of safety. Their home. Her sanctuary. 

When Prue Bridgewater first glimpses the abandoned old house, it's love at first sight. Her husband Ray is not so sure. 

The property has been neglected for decades, and Ray can’t help wondering why. But with Prue on the brink of a nervous breakdown, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her sane, even if it means he has to live there. 

Once ensconced in their new home, Prue begins fixing up the place while Ray is away at work. And then a series of disturbing discoveries makes her fear she's losing her mind. 

She hears things and sees people who couldn’t possibly be there, and she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. 

As Prue’s hold on reality begins to disintegrate, along with her marriage, she struggles to tell truth from delusion. But things go from bad to worse, and soon not just her sanity, but her survival hinges upon the long-buried secrets of THE HOUSE. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Open for Commissions

Having now completed the four novels of the new Nameless Dwarf series, as well as a Shader origins novella, I am re-opening for editing commissions.

Please feel free to email me with your queries, and do please check the services provided in the righthand sidebar.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Busy, busy, busy!

I've recently worked on edits for Valmore Daniels. Mitchell Hogan, and M.R. Mathias:

Valmore Daniels:

Seed of Creation -- the excellent start to The MoonWar Cycle, and possibly his best book to date. It's good to see Valmore return to SF. Seed of Creation is tightly structured, fast paced, and very engaging.

I also provided a copy edit for an older work aimed at children, due to be released under a new title.

Mitchell Hogan:

First off, I provided a number of rounds of editing for Mitchell's foray into SF, Inquisitor, an accomplished novel that manages to be fast-paced while displaying Mitchell's trademark world building skills.

I was also involved with final edits for the revised Blood of Innocents, and for the yet-to-be-released conclusion to the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence: A Shattered Empire.

M.R. Mathias:

I've just finished a literary edit for Paragon Dracus, the latest installment of The Legend of Vanx Malic series.


While working on the above, I've managed to finish my own Return of the Dwarf Lords (Legends of the Nameless Dwarf book 4), and have written approximately half of Legends of the Nameless Dwarf book 1: Carnifex. I've also started work on book 2: Nameless. Book 3 is already written (currently The Complete Chronicles, but to be re-released as Bane of the Lich Lord). There are seven books planned in all.

I've now signed with Fuse Literary to represent the books, so I'm working flat out to get the first four books ready in the next few months.


To make sure I reach my deadlines, I'm having to close to editing commissions for the time being. The good news is, Quills2keyboards editing services has agreed to consider all referrals from this site. I've worked with Paula on a number of commissions, and she's also edited two of my novels, and provided content feedback on virtually all of them. She's one of the most diligent and knowledgable editors I've worked with, and if you're a new writer, her First Draft Triage service is about the best thing I've seen.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Dragons, SF, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Steampunk

Over the past few months I've been fortunate to work with some terrific writers, some new, some established.

I'll be taking new bookings from February, but for now, here's a bit about the authors I've been working with, as well as a project of my own that's nearing completion:

M.R. Mathias

Blood and Royalty by M.R. Mathias

Always a pleasure to work with, M.R. Mathias continues to put out crisp, vividly imagined, fast-paced fantasy, and he keeps getting better. M.R. has his Dragoneers books down to a fine art now, to the point that the characters probably write themselves and generously allow him to take all the credit. My work gets easier with each new Mathias book.

Mitchell Hogan

Mitchell keeps going from strength to strength. He's now following up his massively successful A Crucible of Souls and Blood of Innocents with a science fiction novel that has yet to be named. I've provided developmental and copy editing, and have recently completed a second edit after Mitchell's extensive redraft. The book is carried by tight, focused point of view, compelling themes, and a very satisfying story arc.

Laurel Anne Hill

I provided developmental and copy editing for Laurel's forthcoming steampunk novel Engine Woman's Light. I don't want to say too much about the novel for risk of giving away the plot, but I was impressed by the use of language and voice, mise en scene, and most of all by a couple of scenes that were breathtaking in their brilliance.

I provided developmental and copy editing for the first part of Jessica's debut novel Beneath the Jade Throne. This novel was one of those rare books that got my attention early on: not only does it have a unique setting and an astonishing depth of characterization, but the prose was fluid, measured, and very readable. This has the potential to be a genre classic. 

I know I'm probably light years behind everyone else, but when I Googled Jessica to see if she had an author page, I only found her iMDB entry and the Wiki entry linked to her name above. Seems she might be a little busy with Game of Thrones and Star Wars Episode 7 for a while! 

In the months ahead, I will be working with Rakesh Gupta, J.R. Tomlin, Michael Karner, and Mitchell Hogan.

I'm also finishing the second draft of my own novel The Archon's Assassin (Shader 4), which has been a long time coming. After I self-edit a few times, I'll be sending it to my editor Paula  at Quills to Keyboards. Paula worked on some of my Nameless Dwarf books and the first two Shader books. It's good she's finally quit the day job to run the editing business full-time.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Falcon's Eye by S. Nathan

I'm happy to announce that the debut fantasy novel of S. Nathan, The Falcon's Eye is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on Friday 12th September.

The Falcon's Eye is a monster of a book, and it's gone through many drafts and revisions. My involvement over almost a year was as content and copy editor. What struck me about the book is the depth of the world building and characterisation, coupled with the creation of a culture that is a far cry from the usual medieval European setting. The attention to detail and the labor of multiple redrafts really shows, and the result is a compelling protagonist (Ava Noface) through whom the reader is led piecemeal into a world as tangible as the one around us.

Here are some reflections from the author:

I grew up with Ava Noface. 

She started out as a sketch in the corner of my notebook while I was supposed to be studying for a Maths exam. Within an hour, she had a name and a past, and her story evolved over the seven years I spent writing it. What started out as a hundred pages of scribbles and drawings grew into a complete story, and Ava was always there to give me reprieve from the daily grind. 

I learned how to be a storyteller from her, and once I actually got around to editing and publishing, I learned how to be a writer from a lot of brilliant people. Participating in writing workshops and NaNoWriMo gave me the discipline to write every day, and my background with science, history, and architecture helped me build the world that Ava lives in. I had the support of my family to pull me through my slumps and keep up my ambition and optimism. Writing ‘The Falcon’s Eye’ wasn’t easy, and it involved a lot of hard work, late nights, and frustration, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

All in all, it’s been a journey–a wild, wonderful journey–and it’s only just begun.     

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mitchell Hogan Wins Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel

Homunculus client, Mitchell Hogan, has just won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel for his debut novel, A Crucible of Souls. Aurealis Award Winners

The book received editing input early on from John Jarrold, and then was copy edited by me. It has subsequently been thoroughly re-edited by me for style, content, and further copy, and Mitchell has redrafted significant amounts.

The story has an astonishing breadth of characterisation, intrigue, and world building, and the good news is that book 2, Blood of Innocents, is not far from being released.

I've completed the stage one literary edit and am now working through Mitchell's redrafts. It's a lengthy, but extremely rewarding, process that seeks to tighten structure, clarify prose, and enhance dramatic tension. In every respect, Blood of Innocents is a worthy sequel to A Crucible of Souls, and really ramps up the action, taking the story in a compelling direction.