Developmental Editing

When you've pushed your memoir manuscript as far as you can on your own and can't tell anymore whether the structure flows, or the emotional stakes are high enough, or the themes are clear—it might be time to hire an editor. As an acquiring memoir editor at an independent literary press, I can bring a fresh perspective to your project, pinpointing its strengths—and where it has room to develop.

I specialize in narrative structure—whether you're working with a straightforward narrative and just need help honing the arc, or you have a more complex braided or otherwise non-chronological structure and need to make sure the movement between threads feels fluid and easy to follow. I will point out any excess chapters or scenes that may be slowing your story's momentum, as well as opportunities to expand and dig deeper. I will help you push yourself on the big picture elements like theme, tone, and maintaining narrative tension; and the details like making the most of each scene and smoothing transitions.


-MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION: This developmental edit focuses on the big-picture elements of your manuscript: story structure, pacing, character development, overall balance of scene and reflection, whether your main themes are developing clearly over the course of the story. You will receive a 2-5 page edit letter, with detailed suggestions for reworking your structure to maintain tension and hold the reader's attention, any themes or emotional threads that could use more excavation, specific chapters or sections that need tightening or expansion, etc.—as well as the manuscript's strengths so you know where to lean in. I will give my honest assessment of the project's readiness to query/submit for publication, as well as a clear roadmap for how to get it ready if it isn't quite there yet. (Note: this service does not include line edits.) Starting at $1,400 for up to 50,000 words.

*** In order to make sure I can devote my full attention to each project, availability is limited for manuscript evaluations, and I generally book a few months ahead. Fill out the contact form below to reserve your spot! ***

-FIRST 50: Evaluation of the first 50 (double-spaced, standard format) pages of your manuscript, plus a half-hour phone consultation to discuss revision and publication strategy. (Note: this service does not include line edits.) $500.

-BOOK PROPOSAL EDIT: I can help you sum up your book-length project in a compelling overview and dynamic outline, play up your strengths in the bio and marketing sections, and make sure you've chosen the strongest comps. (This service includes in-line notes and suggestions throughout the proposal.) Flat rate of $450 for a book proposal edit, not including sample chapters. (Evaluation of sample chapters also available for an additional fee, based on length.)

-QUERY LETTER EDITING: A query letter is your first impression on an agent—make sure yours is strong. (This service includes in-line notes and suggestions.) $90.


Lilly is intuitive, smart, and sensitive, offering feedback that is both constructive and energizing. She possesses an extraordinary ability to see the big picture of a project while maintaining keen attention to detail. Each of my experiences of working with Lilly have invigorated me as an artist and brought clarity and focus to my writing. Warm and responsive, Lilly made me feel as though I had a coconspirator in the often lonely act of producing a book. I wholeheartedly recommend her to those seeking an editor.


I’ve worked with Lilly numerous times. She 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.


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.


-An edit includes one round of feedback only. If you would like me to read your revision after you've incorporated my notes and provide additional feedback, that will be considered a separate edit, with a separate fee.

-Reserved editing slots can be rescheduled with at least 30 days' notice at no additional cost. A rescheduling fee of 20% of the total editing fee will be charged for cancellation at any point after a deposit has been made, or for rescheduling with less than 30 days' notice.

-I offer a handful of sliding scale discounted manuscript evaluations and book proposal edits per year. If you are a marginalized writer who can't afford these regular rates, please let me know and we'll work something out.

I'm happy to answer any questions about any of these services! Get in touch today to reserve your spot in my editorial calendar. 

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