My main goal in developmental editing is to shy away from one-size-fits-all cures and focus on the project as its own entity with its personal strengths and weaknesses. From there I’ll determine what the manuscript does really well and think of ways to entice these parts out even more, using them as examples for places that need help. This brings out the best of the author through their own voice, making the work individual, while still leaving room to focus on reinforcing the holes and lose ends in the story. I’ve developed this philosophy in opposition to the trend in editing for marketability that seems to be taking over the publishing world. If you want me to edit your manuscript into a cookie-cutter bestseller, I’m not the one for you. I edit for excellency in art because I want the authors I work with to feel pride in their craft, because great art sells, and because great art outlasts any publishing trends.
My notes range from 10-25 single-spaced pages depending on the manuscript and include three major sections “Narrative,” “Structure,” and “Language.” Narrative deals with things like plot and characters, Structure with the form of the story (title, chapter order, setting, perspective, etc.), and Language deals with the tone, theme and more grammatical parts of the manuscript. Most of my experience has been with Memoir, Short Stories, Creative Nonfiction, Literary Fiction, and Romance, but even if your manuscript doesn’t quite fall into these categories, send it my way. We’ll collaborate until your piece has achieved its highest potential. I pride my notes on the quality and the thoughtful delivery of my advice, coupled with my attention to detail and continued contact with the author, answering questions and helping to work out the kinks. Each project is different and I treat it so.
See my resume for more details about past work. Contact me for more information, scheduling a FREE 30-minute consultation, for references, or rates (rates in compliance with the Editorial Freelancers Association).
books worked on
“Esa was a delight to work with on Psychopomps—always positive, professional, and critically engaged in the process. Esa’s work with the book strengthened it and made it flow much more smoothly from one essay to the next, and her questions and comments were unfailingly insightful, forcing me to grapple with my own work in a deeper way. I’d highly recommend her sharp eye, kind corrections, and thoughtful participation in any editing process.”
—Alex DiFrancesco, (Author of Psychopomps and All City: A Novel)
Release Date: TBD
“I have worked with a number of fiction development editors over the years. I retained Esa Grigsby to work with me on my latest novel manuscript. For me, her notes have become the gold standard for getting the most out of story structure, plot elements, character nuance, and narrative pacing. On top of being a highly skilled line editor, Esa has a knack for red flagging ideas, words and phrases that may not be the correct choice for the story line. Without question, she is the best editor I have ever worked with.”
—Geoffrey Holland, (Author of Virtue, documentary writer, director, and producer)
- Two full-length manuscripts for Ooligan Press – Release date: TBD
“Esa is thoughtful, balanced editor with the eye for the smallest details and the ability to contextualize the bigger picture. Her personalized approach has a sense of ease to it as she chooses her words with care and comfort in order to forge meaningful, personal relationships. Her eyes on our latest developmental
— Monique Vieu, (Ooligan Press Project Team Manager)
“Esa is fantastic. She is thoughtful and thorough as an editor, always considering how details work in the context of the larger structure and the author’s own style and aesthetic. She brings great questions to the table and is open to conversation around various elements, and is compassionate in her approach. She’s also reliable, responsible, and detail-oriented. I can’t speak highly enough of her work.”
—Janice Lee, (writer, editor, publisher)
“Esa perfectly understood where I wanted to go with my project and what needed to happen. Her developmental insight was invaluable, and her tone on pulling out the points to make a story better is incredible. I trust her to do amazing work.”
—Ari Mathae (Ooligan Press Acquisitions Manager)
DE note sample
Editorial Note Sample (password protected)