Editing for Children's / Young Adult Fiction

I was a school teacher and a private English tutor for over 10 years and have taught the full range of age groups, from feral 4-year-olds learning the alphabet right up to angsty 17-year-olds who naturally know everything already. I was also a SENDCO (special needs and disabilities co-ordinator) for the last few years of my teaching career before I left the profession in 2017 to have children of my own. I taught all subjects in the primary curriculum, with specialities in reading, writing, science and history.

 

In my spare time, I have also worked with British museums to help them with editing children’s guides and workbooks for their educational tours and school trips.

My career has given me a lot of experience with children’s literature, both fiction and non-fiction, and I am especially good at advising writers on things like appropriate age content, vocabulary and pacing. I’m also something of an expert when it comes to the intricacies of English grammar, having been forced to torture innocent children with it almost every day of my teaching career. Oh yes, dear reader. I am one of THOSE people.

 

As anyone familiar with the school curriculum today can tell you, there is a VERY heavy focus on grammar, especially in British schools. Children are taught ‘SPAG’- spelling, punctuation and grammar- and they are expected both to understand it and to use it in their own writing. They are regularly assessed on things like the past progressive tense, the subjunctive form and the passive voice.

 

Could you identify a modal verb if one jumped out at you? Could you spot a fronted adverbial or a subordinate clause? I’ll tell you now, an 11-year-old would be expected to. Terrifying, isn’t it? If you don’t believe me, I dare you to open up Google, search “Year 6 Spag Test” and try one of the free online practise exams. It’ll give you nightmares.

“Why is this relevant?” I hear you ask. Well, think about it… if you’re a parent or teacher expecting children to understand the tiniest technicalities of grammar and punctuation, you’re going to want them reading books that model how to use it correctly and serve as a positive influence on their own writing skills. You’re not going to want their impressionable little minds being poisoned by authors who don’t know how to use basic speech punctuation, no matter how good the actual story might be. For this reason, schools and parents want books that serve as a shining paragon of grammatical correctness- and if they wouldn’t buy it, a publisher won’t either. Brutal, eh? Never let anyone tell you that being a children’s author is easy!

The good news is that you don’t have to be a massive grammar nerd to succeed in writing for children, because that’s what good professional line editors are for. I can help you to get those pesky commas in line, iron out the creases in your speech punctuation and polish your manuscript until it shines. I’m obsessive about it to a point that’s a little frightening, actually.

Line Editing / Copy Editing

Masterful writing isn’t just about telling a compelling story—it’s about finding the most effective language to tell that story. That’s where a line editor is indispensable.

I will edit your novel with tracked changes to improve:

  • Grammar

  • Punctuation

  • Flow

  • Repetition

  • Redundancies

  • Dialogue

  • Word choice

  • Sentence structure

  • Clarity

  • Tone and consistency

  • Anything else I come across which could be improved on a sentence level.

You are welcome to send me the first five pages of your manuscript for FREE if you would like to check that my editing style suits you before purchasing my services.

Developmental Editing

Of course, there’s more to life than grammar and punctuation. Children want stories that engage them, with plots that keep them gripped, characters they can fall in love with and adventures that take them away to another world. Different age groups have different requirements in terms of plot complexity, characterization and structure- and I can help with that too. 

 

I advise on...

  • Characterization

  • Structure

  • Plot holes

  • Plot development

  • Story pacing

  • Age appropriateness

 

I will provide you with a chapter-by-chapter analysis of your work, complete with advice, critique and suggestions to help you turn it into a masterpiece.

 

I also do line editing, developmental editing, proofreading and sensitivity reading for adult and children's fiction and non-fiction.

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