Melanie Spiller & Coloratura Consulting
A Tonic for Ramshackle Wordsmiths
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Copyright Melanie Spiller 2011. Do not copy without permission.
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Editing Services
Back in grammar school, you had teachers who went through your work and marked every little thing, good and bad. Painful as that might have been, you learned how to write from it. Years have passed and now you are facing that blank page with your career on the line.

When I work my way through your efforts, I notice every little thing: grammar, punctuation, logic, and sometimes even technical errors. Iíll tell you how your work is strong and where it needs work. I wonít just tell you to change things, Iíll tell you why itís wrong so you wonít make the same kinds of mistakes in your next work.

I'll also work really hard to make sure that you tell the story YOU want to tell, not some Melanie-flavored version of it.

I offer editing services, but youíll get real feedback on your work so that every time you write, itís better, and each time you take on a writing assignment, you feel stronger.
Writing Skills Analysis
Proposal Analysis
Iíll help you prepare your writing proposal, from outline and market analysis to contract negotiations. I was an Acquisitions Editor and I know what they need from you and what will convince them that youíre the right author.

Together, weíll develop an outline including scoping the topic, choosing an audience, and focusing the coverage. You'll learn how much is too much information and how much is not enough.

Youíll need to analyze the competition, and I'll teach you how to do that research and help you do it. You may want to produce work just like someone elseís in scope or audience, and you need to know how to make a compelling argument for why your work will attract positive attention and sales. Or, maybe you arenít sure if your approach is novel; together we can figure out what the best-selling work can be.

There are a lot of contract terms that you might find confusing or intimidating. I can help you figure out whether you need a lawyer or an agent, whether the terms are fair (according to the industry), and what to do if you find that you are not meeting the terms once the contract is underway.

In short, Iím your personal Acquisitions Editor, giving you the tools you need to get published.
Substantive Edits
Unlike a simple copyedit, I offer highly interactive feedback on the clarity of your text, the linear aspects of it (or lack thereof), and suggestions on how to head for your goal without getting lost in tangents on the way. I can make changes for you, or show you how your work can be more linear or clear and leave the decisions up to you.

My participation is almost like having a co-author in that Iíll help you focus, Iíll give you options for how to stay on the direct path, and Iíll be that objective first reader whoíll tell you whether youíve clearly ended up where you promised you would. I know that itís your name on the work, and I wonít insist that itís my way or the byway.

You can get feedback in the text itself, in a separate document, on the phone, or via e-mail or Instant Messenger, whichever works best for you
Market Analysis
Analyzing your subjectís market can be bewildering because thereís so much out there. I can help you refine your search, narrow the focus of your topic, and clarify your place in the market. I can help you determine what else is written, who its audience is, its scope and depth of coverage, and whether itís available to the same audience as your work will be. Together, we can find a niche for your work and a suitable publisher, if thatís your goal.
Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to see all the editing and comments in your work. I can provide a separate document providing general comments on the work and your writing style.

These comments can range from quite general, regarding style, word choice, formatting, or focus, to detailed, regarding poor punctuation habits or a weakness in grammar. After a general statement about the overall work, youíll get a bulleted list, organized by the type of errors you make, and some specific comments on how to improve or see these problems for yourself. Any strengths you have, and guidance on how to use those strengths throughout your work, will also be cited.
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