Blakkopykat Editing, Mentoring & Professional Writing Services
manuscript assessment | structural & copyediting | proofreading | mentoring | thesis editing |copywriting |Resumes
I offer a range of editing, mentoring and writing services to assist writers in the development of their manuscripts. My qualifications include a PhD in Creative Writing and a Master of Communications, specialising in professional writing and editing. For nine years, I have worked as a creative writing lecturer and tutor in universities, teaching the craft of writing and editing to hundreds of students and nurturing emerging talent.
As a freelance consultant, I work with emerging writers on their manuscripts, providing mentoring and advice, manuscript assessments, structural and copyediting services to help them prepare their manuscripts for submission to publishers and manuscript development awards. For authors looking to self-publish, I offer straight copyediting and proofreading services, with expert attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. My preferred style guide is Style Manual: For author, editors and printers (sixth edition, John Wiley & Sons), but I can work to any style guide preference. With a background in academia, I am also adept at copyediting and proofreading DCA and PhD theses, with an eye for improving clarity of expression and can work to any citation style (eg. Harvard, MLA, APA, Chicago).
As a published author, I bring to my editing practice my own experience of working with editors in a publishing house, which includes an understanding of the rigours of the editing process, and best practice for editors in terms of building mutually respectful relationships with authors. As such, my editing practice is informed by what I call ‘the four Cs’: Be Compassionate, Constructive, Comprehensive and Complimentary.
Compassionate: Your manuscript is your baby. You’ve nurtured it, slaved over it, spent many, many hours crafting sentences, choosing the right words, thinking about and falling in love with your characters, daydreaming about getting a publishing deal. As such, when an editor suggests cutting out adjectives, removing similes or metaphors (which you thought were the height of originality), killing off support characters, heck, even deleting entire scenes or chapters, I understand that it stings when you’re told to ‘kill your darlings’ (as the saying goes), and you want to defend your choices, and your manuscript. My editing practice is informed by the fact that I know what it feels like to hear ‘this isn’t working’ or ‘this should go’.
Constructive: Constructive criticism is informed by a compassionate approach to editing. My suggested edits, whether structural or stylistic, are accompanied with explanations as to why something – for example, point of view or tense choice – may not be working and why another approach might work better. A constructive approach to improving overwriting, for example – a common trap for beginner and emerging writers – explains why ‘less is more’ and how a descriptive image can be distilled without losing essential detail or potency.
Comprehensive: Good constructive criticism is comprehensive. This means I explain, in detail, why something is not working and what can be done to improve it. Editing, particularly structural editing, is not just about slashing and burning; it’s also about seeing what’s missing, detecting plot holes, and explaining why another scene, deeper characterisation, more attention to setting, etc, will improve the manuscript. My approach to line-level editing is also comprehensive, which means I interrogate every sentence, every word, and every punctuation mark in your manuscript – Does it need to be there? What does it add? Is it the best/right word or punctuation mark?
Complimentary: Manuscript assessments and comprehensive editing can be daunting, particularly if there is a lot that needs fixing. I believe it’s important, therefore – and this goes back to being compassionate – to compliment writers on what they’re doing well. We all thrive on sincere praise and where praise is due is should be given without reservation.
Below is a list of services I offer and what each of those services entails. My fee depends on the complexity of the project, but as a general guide, I charge $60 an hour for mentoring and all editing services. For manuscript assessment (see below for what this includes), I charge a flat fee of $450 for up to 70,000 words, and an additional $5 for every thousand words after that.
For enquiries and quotes, please use the contact form below.
Under Mel’s mentorship I have completed a manuscript I am really proud of. Her touch is on every page. She taught me the skills of the craft; edited; served as a sounding board for ideas, dilemmas and doubts; encouraged me to trust my growing competence; and finally, made suggestions for publishing. She has stood beside me every step, and stumble, of the way ... there is an art in being unflinchingly critical and encouraging in the one response! I hope that she knows just how much I appreciate her.
I struggled to make sense of my first draft. My memoir used extensive back story alongside a linear arc. Transitions were confusing and overwriting diluted the narrative. Then I turned to Melanie. Within a week she provided editorial support that suggested a change of tense, tightened my writing and added an invaluable roadmap to improve structural clarity. Regrets? One. I wish I had found her sooner. Thank you, Dr Melanie Myers!
Thank you for your professional and sensitive substantive editing. As a result of your suggestions to decompress the narrative summary in the early chapters, re-writing created ripples throughout the whole novel, strengthening characters’ traits and motivations, and increasing tension between them. This has produced a more mature novel with greater complexity and suspense. I thank you sincerely for your input. Even knowing I’m writing for your eyes lifts my game!
I found Melanie' s constructive feedback when preparing my book (the fictionalised memoir, Jae-Dee Surview the Home of Many Mothers) for publishing of tremendous help. Melanie was able to give me an independent and outside view on the writing that I had become too close to. I was unable to critically analyse my writing or see where my writing required improvement. Because I wrote my book from the voice of the "Inner Child" my vocabulary and expression became limited. Melanie was able to suggest that I bring a second voice to add depth, perspective and hindsight. Melanie suggestions, and supportive words were very helpful. I gained the confidence to progress my writing to its final outcome. I would have no hesitation recommending Melanie Myers for anyone requiring an editor or mentor during their writing journey to publishing.