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Professional editing for individuals, publishers, and businesses

verba volent, scripta manent – words flee, writing remains

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The manuscript looks wonderful — you did a beautiful job.

Nonetheless cover

Marcia Schutte
Nonetheless Press
publisher of
Strange Birds from Zoroaster's Nest
by Laina Farhat-Holzman

The cover letter and synopsis are wonderful...the synopsis is much more exciting and well, "understandable." I very much appreciate the work you've done on The Starfish People to help make it the best it can be.

Marshall cover

Leann Marshall,
author of
The Starfish People,
Silver award winner, 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY)

You did a wonderful job editing our text. You remind me of the actor who performs brilliantly without ever revealing traces of his craft. We never see the tricks. You blend your ideas and corrections so seamlessly into the weave of our story that we find it almost impossible to find traces of your handiwork. But the evidence of your skill is sheer wizardry that punches up our story into a first class read. You truly are a marvel!

Peter Letendre, co-author with Marilyn McNally of
The Mistletoe Caper

Marg Gilks is a treasure.
Not only did she complete the work she had promised on time, she did so with a skill and insight I had not dared count on. Her evaluation of my work coached me toward a more polished manuscript, as well as enriching my understanding of technique and the literary marketplace. My confidence level is higher as a result. I will use her services again and again.

Marta McCarthy Ferguson, author of The Kidnapping of Michael Quinn

Thanks for your handholding in words.

S. Gilbert

I'm getting so much MORE out of this mentoring thing than anything I've EVER done before!

Jerrye Sumrall, author of
The Secret Graveyard

As a new writer, I knew I needed help. But I was afraid that the editing process would be complicated, a difficult task in communicating my intentions. However, I found that Marg automatically grasped what I was trying to say, where I was headed and how to get there. Her advice was thorough and prescriptive, making the entire process smooth and timely. She never once made me feel as "green" as I was, but rather, empowered by my potential. Please contact her before you do anything else with your writing.

Kristine Petri, author of Buttercup Fields

I want to thank you again for the critique you did for me. It pointed out so many things in the book that could be fixed, that I'd not seen before, that I was able to put in some really serious work and, I think, make improvements. I'm proud of the book as it is now.

A.B. Cresswell, author of Lady of Zenobar

Writing course
"I currently have a few agents interested in representing the work, but I was a bit surprised to learn that agents and editors at publishing houses actually do not assist in fine-tuning the work."

On this page:

Copyediting and line editing; Manuscript Evaluation; Mentoring;
Proofreading; Web editing; Writing

What's a standard page?


When copyediting, I

  • correct spelling, punctuation, inverted word order, and errors in grammar
  • flag major inconsistencies for your attention
  • correct inappropriate word choice and sentence construction
  • eliminate verbosity (wordiness)
  • work to clarify the meaning
  • polish the language in general
  • eliminate sexist language or jargon
I enter changes directly into electronic files using any method you are comfortable with.

Line editing also includes making suggestions or minor alterations on a scene-by-scene or paragraph-by-paragraph basis to tighten plot, improve characterization, dialogue, and setting, and correct infelicities in point of view.

I charge by the standard page, my page-fee being dependent upon the level of editing required. I determine this by doing a test edit: I actually edit several pages of your manuscript and return this to you with an accurate quote. You are able to review the edited sample and see what I would do in editing your full manuscript, should you choose to work with me.

Click here to see an actual sample of my editing. If you would like me to do a complimentary test edit for you, for instructions, or further information.

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As defined by the EAC: Proofreading is examining material after layout to correct errors in textual and visual elements.

A quick final pass in order to polish a manuscript for submission or publication best defines proofreading. When proofreading, I correct typos, spelling, punctuation, and inverted word order and flag inconsistencies and errors in grammar.

If doing a final page proof, I also check line flow, headers, placement of graphics, page breaks and numbering, and flag all errors and inconsistencies for the desktopper to address. Any workable format is acceptable — Word, WordPerfect, PDF, Acrobat, Quark, or hardcopy. I do not rework or rewrite your writing.

Email Marg Gilks  for more information.

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Web site editing includes the following:

A general assessment of whether the site's objective (entertainment, information, sales, corporate presence) has been fulfilled: are content, layout, and graphics appropriate? Does the site make it easy for users to purchase the product? Does the site appeal to its intended audience?
Checking usability: do all hyperlinks go where they're supposed to go? Can users navigate easily? Are any graphics missing? Are text and color choices appealing to viewers and easy on the eyes? Does the page load too slowly? (These aspects are checked in both Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape 7.)
HTML proofreading for missing end tags, misspellings in attributes and meta tags, the order of nested elements, etc. Note: I do not change your code. I flag errors and inconsistencies for your attention.
Editing content:
error messages
alt tags
page names (to better describe their content)
downloadable files (e.g. PDFs)
body text
text in images, including animated GIFs
text on buttons
rollover, balloon, scrolling, and popup text
image captions

Email Marg Gilks  for more information.

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A one-on-one writing workshop, with your work as the only project. You determine what you'd like to accomplish from mentoring, what the project will be, how much time is devoted to it, and how long the "workshop" goes on. If you want to pick my brain, or have me read and comment on revisions to your novel on an ongoing basis, or assess your short stories or articles, we can do that. Need help with your query letter or synopsis? Here's where you'll get it.

Also included is a mini-education in writing in general; I draw on my years of writing experience to offer you advice on avoiding scams, how and where to market, manuscript format, submission etiquette, etc. Feel free to ask questions. I'll answer if I can.

Email Marg Gilks  for more information.

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My goal in performing a manuscript evaluation is to help you improve your novel or short story manuscript via self-editing, or to help you determine whether a manuscript is ready to market or if it needs further work. An evaluation can either be stand-alone, a preliminary step to editing, or included as part of my editing service.

I thoroughly read the manuscript and write a report detailing what I feel its strengths and weaknesses are, including those noted in

  • plot (logic, continuity, etc.)
  • characterization (believability and motivation)
  • setting (Is there no detail of place? If there is, is it believable, can it be envisioned by the reader?)
  • dialogue (natural? appropriate?)
  • point of view (POV switches, suitability of POV characters)
  • overall style.

If I have suggestions or ideas on how problem areas can be improved, I offer them. I don't make any changes to your manuscript. It's up to you to act upon my suggestions. You are invited to discuss points raised in my report via e-mail for one week afterward.

Email Marg Gilks  for more information.

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It's a manuscript file formatted to the same guidelines detailed by agents and publishers:

  • double spaced text
  • left-aligned text
  • paragraphs indented half an inch, no blank lines between paragraphs
  • one inch margins all around
  • font: Times Roman 12 or Courier 10–12

Do not manually format your file — use your word-processor's formatting tools.

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Back to copyediting & line editing


Don't know how to say it? Let me write it for you.

Need content for your newsletter or Web site? Tell me what you need, and I'll write it.

With a list of writing credits for poetry, articles, and short stories that spans twenty years and includes publications as diverse as Seventeen Magazine, Cats Magazine, Home Business Journal, Inkspot,, The Writer, Tales of the Unanticipated, Eternity Online, and Orpheus Romance, I have a proven track record as a writer.

Contact me for

  • articles written to your specifications for newsletters, company bulletins, newspapers, magazines, and Web sites
  • cover letters, query letters, and business letters
  • assistance with synopses and press releases
  • original short stories.

NOTE: I do not ghostwrite books.

Email Marg Gilks  for further details or a complete list of my writing credits.

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