I love editing. I began doing it professionally in 2008 when the Center for Feminist Theology and Ministry (CFTM) in Japan asked me to correct the English translations of their proceedings. At around the same time, I became the assistant editor for the English language newsletter for the World Council of Churches in Japan. I was also writing for local magazines to promote the social justice issues I was passionate about, as well as teaching English in my local community in western Tokyo.
On returning to Scotland, I continued working for the CFTM but also expanded into fiction editing. I had started writing novels and short stories in Japan and was now beginning to be published. I received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for fiction in 2014 which was followed by a longlisting in the Mslexia novel competition (2017) and another in the Penguin WriteNow scheme for under-represented writers (2020). I am currently the editorial assistant for the literary magazine Skirting Around.
My experience in fiction and non-fiction enables me to offer editorial services across a broad spectrum of work. In fiction I offer mentoring, developmental editing, and line and copy-editing. With mentoring and developmental editing, I help writers as they are forming the shape of their work by analysing and questioning story structure, character motivation and behaviour, and pacing, among other issues. These services are offered to projects that are still at an early stage. With line and copy-editing, I help self-publishing writers as well as writers getting ready to submit to agents and competitions by focusing on the fine details of how the prose has been crafted.
I offer mentoring, developmental editing, and line and copy-editing in non-fiction too and have helped students with PhD theses and dissertations; small businesses and NGOs with blogs and website material; and academics working in feminism, human rights, religion, and theology. I have worked with publishers and independent authors to create perfectly crafted materials for their businesses and careers.
Books and reading have always been a cornerstone of my life, but I am not just a book nerd! I love the outdoors and can be found cycling around central Scotland, looking for campsites or just for a wee cup of tea. I make a good cup of tea – I studied tea ceremony in Tokyo, where I lived for eleven years. I relax by doing yoga, which I have a regular practice of, watching Columbo (the heart wants…), growing my own food, and dreaming about one day having chickens.
ABOUT MY TRAINING
This is a picture of a monkey – with a calligraphy brush. I bought it in 2005 at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Kyushu, Japan. It was the year of the monkey and I am a monkey. I had thought of the monkey as a chatterer but the calligraphy brush suggested that the monkey was a communicator and scholar. At the time, I was writing for magazines and for myself. For me then and for me now, the monkey symbolises one of the most pronounced aspects of my character – I love to study and learn.
When I began editing, it was extremely important for me to do the best editing training I could. I chose the Publishing Training Centre's Essential Copy-Editing course because of how well respected it was. Shortly after that I joined the Chartered Institute for Editing and Proofreading and began to work my way through their courses and all the wonderful educational resources they provide. Then when I decided I wanted to expand into the specialised area of fiction editing I signed up for the CIEP's Introduction to Fiction Editing course and completed both Developmental Editing Fiction Theory and Developmental Editing In Practice with Liminal Pages. For a summary of my qualifications, please click here.
But learning never stops, especially in the ever changing field of editing. Having completed the Liminal Pages courses, I set up two groups: one to support my and my fellow developmental editors and another to analyse and discuss published books. It's not a job, it's a way of life!