“Have taken actual college classes that dont explain it this well. Got lots of new ideas.”

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Summary or inline critique chapter-by-chapter or for individual short stories. Personalised feedback tailored to your specific project, for your specific story.

Developmental/substantive editing, focusing on big-picture elements such as plot, pacing, characterisation and theme, plus line edits where needed.


Nurture not only your novel, but also you as a writer. Improve on technique, style, and voice, with structured guidance designed to move towards your goals at a suitable pace.

Charlie Aylett

I believe good writing is as much about effective editing as it is about creating the initial idea. Even the most experienced writers need a fresh pair of eyes to go over their work, advise on weak areas and where the story’s strengths lie, be it fiction or memoir. But not just any old eyes, eyes that can see beyond the rough edges and pick out the main story elements, assess what genre – or genres – the story fits in with, and navigate a path towards crafting a clear and compelling story. It’s also vital to retain the unique flavour of the author's style and voice.

I will read through your manuscript and provide an honest and constructive assessment of it, making editorial suggestions of where story elements could be improved (and how). If you wish, I can also provide suggested line edits. (Not to be confused with copy editing; these are suggestions about things like character motivations, how dialogue sounds, believability, etc.)

If you wish for a bit more hand-holding, I can even set out your whole plot and character arc in a spreadsheet, detailing your main plot developments chapter by chapter so that you have a clear map of what needs to go where. When developing plot, it is always foremost in my mind that it must organically grow from your characters’ unique identity/situation.

No matter how rough your early draft is, I can identify your main story elements and show you how to:

  • Use them to maximum effect

  • Improve pacing

  • Ensure all elements are presented in the right order with drive and focus.


If needs be, I would make suggestions of elements that could be added to achieve those effects.

I can guide you on how to develop your central characters’ emotional journeys and connect their story lines, so they feel more cohesive to the overall plot. Throughout, my aim is always to stick as closely to your original idea as possible, while also making editorial suggestions that will lift the story's ambitions should it serve the book better to do this.

If you haven’t yet written a draft, you can also employ me as a consultant to help develop an idea.


I charge reasonable rates, so don’t be afraid to inquire and try me out!

I'm an associate editor for a short fiction magazine and work with stories on a daily basis. For over ten years I have critiqued and edited self-publishing and amateur authors in both short and novel form, helping them find which techniques work best for their story goals.

There is much uncertainty when it comes to the real meat of novel writing – the story itself - mixed up in misconceptions of a rules-driven rhetoric. Rarely does that kind of advice drill into the more complex depths of storytelling. Without understanding what the story is doing, when it should be doing it or what it is trying to achieve, deciding which techniques should be employed and when to employ them is somewhat difficult to grasp, let alone hit upon a workable structure and pace. Unfortunately, these kinds of voids are evident time and time again in self-published books.

For more info on substantive editing, check out my FAQs.


If you are in need of an editor or critique services, please get in touch and let's chat! If you have questions about my services, check out the FAQs or contact me direct if there's something else you'd like to ask.

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© C.Aylett 2017

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