With Writing Coach, Barbara Ankrum, MFA
Welcome To My Website
I'm a published novelist, long-time writing teacher and developmental editor. Editing is my focus here at Revise and Conquer, but all the other skills I bring to the table are equally important to the work I do with you.
"Writing is rewriting," goes the sage advice and it's true. Revising, polishing and honing your manuscript until it's the best you can make it is your best shot at success in today's challenging market. Whether the burgeoning self-publishing market is your goal, you're aiming at the traditional publishing route, or you're a published author, hoping to take your writing to the next level, hiring a developmental editor is probably the best thing you can do for your career. Think of it, truly, as an investment in your future.
Why Should You Hire A Professional Editor?
Ask any writer and they'll tell you: writing novels is akin to juggling many balls in the air while you're patting your head and rubbing your belly. Fiction writers must simultaneously wrangle characterization, plot, conflict, motivation and point of view, as well as emotional arcs, tension and pacing (to name a few!)
Still, persistent writers eventually gather the balls together and send them into some kind of cohesive rhythm over their heads and produce a book. But after months, sometimes years of work, we're often simply shadowboxing with our books, unable to see anymore which elements we've either dropped or given the short shrift.
Maybe you've already given your shiny new book to your sister or your best friend to get an opinion. They may be able to say "It was really good! " or more honestly, "There's something about it that's bothering me, but I can't put my finger on it." That's where a professional developmental editor can help. For over fifteen years, I've been helping writers hone their craft, find what's missing and achieve their dreams of publishing,
If Your Goal Is Self-Publishing...
Whether it's your intention to self-publish your book or go the way of traditional publishers, you face the same dilemma: you must please either e-book buyers or editors.
E-book sites like Amazon and Borders have become the new slush pile that used to reside on editors' desks. Buying e-books can be a hit or miss affair, and the misses are often returned by disgruntled readers, along with the vow to never buy another one of that author's books! But a hit can spark a newcomer's career in writing and provide an amazing opportunity for success.
Traditional Publishing Your Dream?
Similarly, if you're going for traditional publishing, you may only get one shot at submission to publishers and you'd be well advised to make it your best. You're competing against other traditionally published authors out there for a slot in a tight publishing calendar. Editors today have neither the time nor the inclination to hold the hands of new authors, who are hoping that any problems with their books will be resolved at the editing stage. Your best shot at becoming a successful author is to put out the best product you can.
It won't come as any surprise to you experienced writers, reading this, that pressures from publishers, short deadlines and feeling stuck at the glass ceiling of mid-list can all affect the quality of your work. You may already be feeling the pinch from overworked, understaffed editorial departments that often don't have time to do much more than copy edit your manuscript. Your editor may not be able to pin down some essential weakness in the book that you instinctively feel is there.
That's where I come in.
Whether you're published or hoping to be published, whether you need a second, critical set of eyes on a finished manuscript, help with a proposal or you're hashing through a vexing synopsis, I can help. I will do this in a supportive, constructive and encouraging way, using methods I've honed through years of helping writers meet their goals.
Now, I'd like to help you meet yours.
What Clients Are Saying:
"Barbara has unerring instincts for story, structure and characterizations. She appreciates and respects the story I'm trying to tell but she knows how to make it even better! Her critiques are always thoughtful, constructive and, above all, encouraging. I always feel better about myself and my story after I've talked it over with her. I recommend her to anyone who's ready to take her writing to the next level."
"The Lucky Dog Match Making Service"
"Goal, motivation and conflict genius! My teacher and mentor for over 15 years, Barbara Ankrum is who I turn to at the beginning, middle and end of my writing journey. There is no one better, or who I trust more, to help me navigate the complicated and painful road of plotting a novel!"
"Eternal Beast" Mark of the Vampire Series.
"Barbara Ankrum knows what it takes to grow the seeds of an idea into a fully developed story. Her story instincts are sharp and her critiques focused. I highly recommend Barbara for anyone looking to take their manuscript from good to exceptional. Without Barbara's critical eye and guidance, I can honestly say I would never have been published."
Author, "My Fair Concubine"