When you spend enough time writing and rewriting a manuscript, eventually you can't see it clearly anymore. That's where a skilled developmental editor comes in: bringing fresh eyes and an objective perspective to your work. When you've gone as far as you can on your own and need someone to come in and tell you if the structure flows well, if the scenes are engaging, if the characters feel vivid and real, if there's enough of you on the page to keep readers hooked, that's where I can help. From the big picture issues of structure, tone, and themes, to the nitty gritty details like confusing transitions or scenes that could use just a little more detail, I can help you see your project in a new light and pinpoint everything it needs to shine.
I’ve worked with Lilly numerous times. She has helped me revise personal essays and offered feedback on chapters of my book. She even helped me edit my entire book proposal, which resulted in my landing the literary agent of my dreams. As a fellow writer, Lilly understands the craft from an artistic perspective. As a professional editor, she understands the logistics. This is part of what makes her feedback invaluable. She examines work through both the lens of a creative writer and industry professional to highlight what works and what doesn’t. Her feedback is sharp, smart, straightforward, and constructive. Working with her taught me how to look at my own work with a critical eye. She has helped me become a better writer.
-Ariel Henley, former client for her memoir A Face For Picasso (forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
BIG PICTURE EVALUATION: If you're not ready for in-depth edits but just need someone to read what you have so far and make sure you're on the right track, a big-picture evaluation is a great place to start. In this broad-strokes manuscript critique, I'll read your full or partial draft and return a 1-2 page edit letter on your manuscript's potential and needs, focusing on any structural or foundational issues that need to be addressed in the early stages of editing. Starting at $750.
IN-DEPTH EDIT: If you have a finished, edited draft and you need someone to really dig in and find every little weak spot, it may be time for an in-depth edit. At this level, I'll mark up your manuscript with notes, questions, and suggestions on a scene-by-scene level, suggesting places you could cut/tighten, and/or where you need to add more detail and reflection. Starting at $1,500.
Get in touch below for a quote—I'm happy to find an approach that suits your needs and budget.
I loved Lilly's attention to detail. She showed me where readers might become confused and offered great suggestions on how to better weave an emotional arc into my story line. Sometimes it's hard to 'kill your darlings' but she was able to point out the ones I really needed to consider chopping. I also appreciated her timeliness, professionalism, and communication.
-Charlotte Kaufman, former client
*** In order to make sure I can devote my full attention to each project, availability is limited for manuscript critiques and edits. I take on two projects per month. Fill out the contact form below to reserve your spot! ***
BOOK PROPOSAL CRITIQUE: An outside eye is especially helpful on book proposals (whether you have a completed manuscript or not), because summing up your own work in just a few pages, and zeroing in on what will make it marketable, is many writers' idea of hell. Flat rate of $300 for a book proposal edit, not including sample chapters. (Sample chapter edits also available for an additional fee, depending on length.)
QUERY LETTER EDITING: Let me pitch your book for you, so you don't have to. $50.
ESSAY EDITING: In-depth line edits and suggestions for structural changes, reframing, or whatever your essay needs to make it shine.
She pulls no punches, that Lilly Dancyger, and in less time than it takes to push the return key she has laid bare the heavy-handed, over writing that so often plagues my writing. I come at my craft with a calligrapher's intent of giving form to my text in an expressive, voluminous, manner. Lilly, and thank the Lord for it, possesses the keen eye of a true alchemist, turning the least of my offerings into blisteringly sleek awarenesses that all but crawl out from the page and slap you across the face, they’re so good, so unexpected.
-Regina Louise, former client for her memoir Someone Has Led This Child to Believe: A Case History of Love (Agate, 2018)
*I will do my very best to help you make your manuscript, proposal, and query letter as polished and sellable as possible, but of course, in this unpredictable industry, I can't make any firm guarantees that you will sell your book after working with me.
I'm happy to answer any questions about any of these services, and work out a plan that works for you. Get in touch today to book services for yourself, or purchase a gift certificate for a loved one!