Lynn Curtis

literary consultant & editor

I have worked for authors writing in the English language from the UK, the US, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Malta, Bosnia, Romania, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, France…and I look forward to hearing how I can help you.

Reader’s Report
An industry-standard overview of your book (2,000 words approximately) that highlights its strengths and weaknesses. In works of fiction, I will pay close attention to the plot, characters, theme and background. In non-fiction books, I assess the arrangement and accessibility of the material.

Structural Edit
I work directly onto the text with a tracked changes mark-up. I make comments and suggestions for amendments to, for instance, pace, length, style, tone, anachronisms, etc. In fiction, I give constructive suggestions as required – on deepening characterisation, handling back story, adding drama to the plotline, enhancing themes, etc. In non-fiction I offer guidance on clarity in the narrative, varying the tone and the use of ‘colour’ in writing. A structural edit is the macro stage of editing…

…and this is the micro stage, where I correct errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, continuity and fact, so as to produce a seamless

experience for the reader. This process is traditionally undertaken by the publisher, but it may be a good investment to get your work copy-edited by a professional before submission. If an author is self-publishing, they should always have the book copy-edited.

Copy-editing is often confused with proof-reading, which is carried out as a separate process only once the book has been type-set. Please note, I offer copy-editing but not proof-reading.

For authors who love writing just a little too much, I can radically reduce the word count while retaining the best features of your work.

Submission Documents & Advice
A new author needs representation by a literary agent – and they receive dozens of submissions every week. How do you make your letter and synopsis stand out from the rest and which agents will be most receptive to your work? Once you are ready, I can help you take the next step towards becoming a published writer.

There are no guarantees in publishing, I’m afraid. Luck – the right editor reading the right author at the right time – still plays a major part in any writer’s career. But I am confident that I can help you develop and polish your work so that it is in the best possible shape before it is submitted.

  • Lynn Curtis is undoubtedly one of the UK’s top freelance editors. After an initial meeting with her I realised I was in the hands of a true professional who could steer me to success Paul Callan, author of The Dulang Washer
  • This was the first time I had sought professional help with my novel – and that’s exactly what it was: professional, thoughtful, systemic, wise – and within deadline. Lynn gave me the confidence to take the novel forward, when I was close to giving up. Definitely an investment worth making Kate Fearon, author of City of Soldiers
  • Lynn is not only an incisive, sympathetic critic but a truly creative collaborator. She has an uncanny knack of seeing straight into the heart of your writing project, and helps you to understand what you are doing and where it needs to go next. Her knowledge of both high and popular culture is second to none. I would particularly recommend her to new writers, since she has the patience to explain the basics of plot, character, theme and style Xan Silverwood
  • I thoroughly enjoy working with Lynn. She takes time to understand the story before starting her edit and works hard to develop ideas with the author rather than just prescribing change Duncan Jepson, author of All the Flowers in Shanghai
  • Lynn gave my draft novel a thorough going over and presented me with copious notes. Her report held a good balance of positive and critical feedback, all of it constructive and well argued, and I came gradually to see that it was all spot on too. She gave me some personal recommendations to agents. Added to all this, she is approachable and good value. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her Diane Chandler
  • Lynn is one of those editors who seem to work magic. She recognises the pitfalls and errors that writers fall into. Through experience and talent, she has the ability to help improve a manuscript from start to finish until it is ready for publication. Not only is she brilliant, I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. Whether you’re a new author or an experienced one, I highly recommend Lynn Kate Mayfield
  • Lynn Curtis gave me detailed, structured and invaluable advice on my first book, Hue & Cry. Her close, perceptive reading skills and knowledge of the market were perfectly on target, and helped the manuscript to find its way to publication Shirley McKay, author of the Hew Cullan novels
  • Lynn and I have known each other for many years, ever since we worked for the same major general publisher. She has been the confidential, hidden hand behind many successful authors for more than two decades. What she does, better than anyone, is to enable authors to find their own voice, giving as much or as little help as necessary. There was certainly only one person to whom I was going to turn when I needed some comprehensive initial advice George Goodwin, author of Fatal Colours: Towton 1461 – England’s Most Brutal Battle
  • Instead of asking family or friends to critique my novel, I contacted Lynn. In return I got exactly what I needed. Her feedback was both inspiring and brutally honest. Her insights were enlightening and she was expert at pinpointing the key areas of my work that required more development, editing or simply cutting out. Best of all, Lynn expanded my characters and themes with her suggestions and challenged me to become a better writer. An invaluable experience Joe Ranson
  • Lynn impressed us all with her knowledge of the publishing world, and her advice on finding agents was clear and constructive. She shared her experience in an encouraging and engaging manner and was an inspiration to us all Ruth Hunter, Richmond College Writers at Work course
  • Lynn Curtis helped me greatly as my writing gathered momentum following years in industry. She is always committed to doing the best job possible: constructive in her criticisms, and conscientious not only in how she reviews one’s work but also in ensuring that one understands what she’s said and why Rheagan Greene
  • Working with Lynn on a manuscript is only ever a pleasure. She has the rare ability to see the strengths in your work even when others cannot. And because of this she is able to shine a light on the parts of your manuscript that need to breathe as well as those in need of culling. Her suggestions are thoughtful and frequently profound Stuart Black, author of Shallow Water
  • Your work [on Ralph is (not) a Spy] was of a brilliant standard and we are very pleased that we found you Margaret Brown, Marketing Executive, RAL Publications Ltd
  • Bogged down in the minutiae of an unwieldy manuscript, my agent wisely recommended the editorial acumen of Lynn Curtis. I received a direct, honest appraisal of where the story was working and where it was not, and Lynn, with novel ideas and food for thought, was able to steer the manuscript in a more commercially viable direction, while ensuring the story stayed faithful to the point it was making. I was also impressed with the extent of her background knowledge on the rather eclectic nature of the subject. It was a pleasure to deal with her and the new draft of my manuscript is significantly improved. This is my second novel, and I greatly wish that I had called on Lynn to edit my first Ian Chapman
  • I’ve always found Lynn to be very sympathetic, insightful and enthusiastic. She has a great love of books and a real understanding of what makes a successful novel. However, Lynn is also completely non-judgemental and appreciates writing on any subject and of any genre. She’s great at analysing the structure of a manuscript and will push you to improve your characterisation as well as the standard of your writing. Her knowledge of grammar is also unparalleled! Jonathan Budds
  • My literary agent introduced me to Lynn on the basis that we all only have one chance to sell our first novel so a book needs to be the best it can be, and that was where Lynn provided invaluable advice and insight on characters, plotting, pace, dialogue, editing, pruning and re-writing. Largely due to Lynn’s input into my work to date, seven of my books were published variously by Hodder Headline and HarperCollins in London, by Gill & Macmillan in Dublin, and by Meulenhoff in Amsterdam. As one of the City of London characters in my financial thrillers might say: working with Lynn was an investment which paid dividends many times over Paul Kilduff, author of Ruinair, Ruinairski, Square Mile and others
  • Lynn has worked on all 21 of my Jessica Blair novels since 1992. It has been a pleasure to work with her and she has guided me with competence and interest. She has a wide knowledge of the publishing world and is forthright with her comments and opinions. Through our time working together we have developed a lasting friendship, and I greatly respect her and her work William Spence, author of the Jessica Blair Novels

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