My main goals in editing and critiquing are to strengthen your voice, tighten your prose, and ask questions when I see things that aren’t working. My services are detailed below. I generally work for an hourly rate that depends on the type of edits requested, as that seems most fair to both you and me. However, I am happy to provide an estimate based on a sample and word count. If you are on a budget, I can provide a price cap and/or work with you on editing an excerpt of your work (eg. the first 50 or 100 pages).
I will edit any literary or genre MG, YA, NA, or Adult novel, novella, or short story.* I am also happy to edit works of non-fiction (blog posts, articles, technical documents and guides, creative nonfiction, memoirs, books). Please email me or fill out the form at the bottom of this page with more information about the type of work, length, and what type of edits you’re interested in, and I’ll respond with a quote if I think I’m a good match, or I’ll try to recommend an alternative editor if I’m not.
Upon request, I will provide a sample edit of up to 5 pages at no charge (see Scheduling below). You can request a particular type of edit (developmental, line, or proofread), or based on the sample, I can recommend an editing service.
- Query and Synopsis Critiques: I’ll help you boil down your logline. I’ll make sure the main conflict is clearly stated and the consequences are well defined if the main character doesn’t succeed in his goal, while ensuring your voice shines through. I’ll help you trim unnecessary details and clarify the plot where needed.
- What you will receive: A detailed line edit (see below) using MS Word’s Track Changes and Comments features and a short report with any questions I have about problem areas with suggestions for improvement.
- Developmental Editing: The big picture: I will focus on voice (style and tone), point of view, scene and story structure (opening and ending), pacing, tension/conflict, continuity, plot, setting (worldbuilding, if applicable), character development, and dialogue. I’ll also take note of plausibility, readability, and enjoyment. I will not make line edits, but if I notice patterns, I will mention them and suggest how to revise. I may suggest the addition/removal of scenes, or reorganization for better flow or pacing.
- What you will receive: Comments highlighting issues in the margins using MS Word’s Comments feature (or comments on a hard copy if you prefer) and an Editorial Letter. I will answer 30 minutes worth of questions via email, chat, or video chat. Additional time can be scheduled.
- Line Editing: This phase usually comes after a manuscript has been through developmental editing. I will go through the manuscript line by line and tighten the prose, correct grammar (unless incorrect grammar lends to the voice), typos, spelling, punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure, point out awkward sentences, crutch words, repetition, redundancy, and passive tense, diagnose show vs. tell, sensory details, dialogue and beats, transitions and flow, consistency in characterization and POV, etc. I will trim unnecessary details: I’ll cut to the interesting dialogue, suggest alternatives to infodumps, and how to sprinkle in backstory and details.
- What you will receive: Corrections, suggestions, and comments in the margins using MS Word’s Track Changes and Comments features (or corrections/comments on a hard copy if you prefer). I will answer 30 minutes worth of questions via email, chat, or video chat. Additional time can be scheduled.
- Proofreading: After developmental and line edits, it’s a good idea to have a different editor proofread your work as a last step before submission or publication. This is a thorough edit to catch grammar and punctuation issues, typos, with comments on sentence structure, word choice, and repetition. It’s focused on the mechanics of writing and formatting.
- What you will receive: Corrections using MS Word’s Track Changes and comments on recurring problems (or corrections on a hard copy if you prefer).
- The Works: Developmental editing (after which you revise) followed by line editing. A discount applies.
- Scheduling: If you’re ready to schedule your edits, please contact me. If you’re unsure, I am happy to provide you with a free sample 5-page critique of a novel excerpt, or a free sample 1-page critique of a short story. Note that it is difficult to provide much developmental editing with such short samples.
- Payment: Please inquire about my fees. For Query and Synopsis critiques, payment upfront is required. For other services, 50% payment is due upfront and 50% is due upon project completion. Your document will be returned when payment is received in full. I accept payment via Paypal.
- Turnaround Time: Depends on my schedule and the service you request. I can give you an estimate with your quote. Please let me know if you have a deadline. Rush jobs may require an additional fee.
- Cancellation and Rescheduling policy: Please respect my time and contact me as soon as an issue arises. Cancellations without advance notice are subject to forfeiture of your deposit.
- Submission Guidelines: Please send your manuscript in a .doc or .docx format in Times New Roman size 12 font with 1” margins and page numbers.
- Questions? Please feel free to email me or fill out the form below. You may want to read this article before we get started.
More about Me:
I graduated with honors from Princeton University with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and certificates in Environmental Studies and Robotics and Intelligent Systems. I studied bioengineering at Stanford University, earning a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Musculoskeletal Mechanics. I worked in the aerospace industry as a Mechanical Engineer and a Systems Engineer. Much of my work involved technical writing, research, and problem solving. I have an assiduous attention to detail. My specialties include: plausibility in science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding, consistency, believable characters and dialogue, and trimming unnecessary details from a manuscript.
I took Fiction Writing with Elizabeth McKenzie at De Anza College in the Fall of 2011. I attended Josh Weil’s Voice workshop for novelists at the 2013 Mendocino Coast Writers Workshop. I completed a 7-month submissions internship with Month9Books in early 2014. I’ve been running a local writing/critique group for two and a half years. I also attend several local critique groups and have three additional Critique Partners. To become more familiar with my writing, check out my blog, where I frequently post flash fiction and poetry. Through writing flash fiction, I have learned to condense a story down to the essentials.
Margit’s editorial feedback is thorough, meticulous, and collaborative. She is both cheerleader and coach to the writer. It would be a pleasure to work with her again.
– Irene Pozoukidis
Margit Sage opened my eyes. I have a manuscript I love, but it just didn’t jump off the page for agents and editors. I knew I had a diamond in the rough, but couldn’t figure out how to polish it so others would see it shine. Margit reviewed the first ten pages of my manuscript and saw the issues immediately.
Her overarching editorial comments honed right in on the structural problems, and her suggestions were like a road map leading me through the revision jungle. Her line by line edits showed me exactly where I was going wrong and suggested how to fix it. I feel re-energized and ready to charge forward and rework the manuscript. But a warning: this is a serious professional edit, not for the thin-skinned looking for a pat on the back. Margit tells the truth. Only engage her if you are serious about making your manuscript the best it can be.
– Robert August, Ph.D (aka August von Orth)
I am extremely pleased with the editing services provided by Margit Sage. As a new writer, I was seeking professional advice after finishing my first novel. Margit helped me tighten the prose, pointed out POV violations, gave me insight to deepen characters, and left detailed comments, corrections, and suggestions throughout the manuscript. I think every new writer needs a pair of professional eyes to review their work.
– Alessandra Harris
* I am not interested in editing any manuscript in which there is glorified non-consensual sex or gratuitous violence. I am pretty flexible when it comes to genre, but I will let you know if I don’t feel comfortable with a particular novel based on the query/synopsis or sample, which I require before editing a manuscript.