Freelancing Editing Services: Open for Business

I’m open for business as a freelance editor of genre fiction, specializing in science-fiction, fantasy and horror.

In today’s competitive market, your short story, novella, or novel will need to stand-out and be as thoroughly polished as it can possibly be to stand a good chance at getting published. Having an extra, professional eye cast over it can greatly increase those chances in your favour.

A bit about me and my qualifications: Ongoing since 2014, I am the fiction editor-in-chief and producer of Hugo-winning audio magazine, StarShipSofa. Authors who I’ve worked for as editor include George R. R. Martin, William Gibson, Robin Hobb, Harlan Ellison, Peter Watts, Robert Silverberg, Hannu Rajaniemi, Joe Haldeman, Nnedi Okorafor, Neal Asher, Joe Lansdale, Marc Laidlaw, and hundreds of others.

I acquire stories both through the slush pile and through solicitation, usually working with the authors directly. In some cases, I go through rewrites and line edits with the author to improve the story’s world-building, characterization, plot direction, prose and narrative arc. I select and purchase the stories before finding an appropriate narrator, selecting the narrator’s gender, accent, nationality, pitch and tone to suit the story.

I am also a writer of science-fiction, horror and nonfiction, both in novel length and short form. My work has been traditional published in venues such as Nature, Abyss & Apex, Lightspeed, Tor.com, Tales to Terrify, Strange Horizons, and multiple anthologies. My work has been translated into Mandarin, Polish, Arabic, Bulgarian, and Spanish. I have appeared on multiple panels on editing and writing at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland, and I have a BA in Film Studies and Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales.

Whatever editing project I’m working on, I approach it with the same work ethic. I respect the author’s vision for their story and want to help bring that vision to its full and upmost realisation. Whether it’s characterization, world-building, plot or tonne, I want to dig deep into the foundations of a story and find that indelible spark, and polish it until it shines. Whether it’s the weird or traditional, far-flung space opera or gothic horror, light and funny or dark and morbid, my philosophy is to commit myself fully to its tone and voice and style, and help build upon that.

Whatever you write, and whatever editing services you’re looking for, I’d love to hear from you.

These are the types of editing services I offer:

Line Editing: This is the small-scale stuff, the sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph nitty gritty that helps put forward a professional-looking product. The focus is on issues such as continuity, dialogue, clarity, awkward sentences, repetition, consistency, word choice, style, voice and tone. I’ll see to these issues by way of comments in the margin and, when appropriate, directed changes in the document.

Developmental Editing: This is big picture stuff, the issues that focus on a product’s overall, large scale quality such as inconsistent and poor world-building, pacing, characterization, motivations, plot holes, narrative frameworks and story. If you want to focus on a particular aspect, such as clarifying character motivations or fixing broken world-building, that can be done, too. I’ll work by reading the manuscript and making notes in Track Changes, noting the strengths and weaknesses of your work, and where I think things can be added, clarified, or cut out. I’ll tell you things along the lines of “adding this would make your character’s actions much clearer, and provide emotional context” or “I felt this aspect of world-building was introduced too late, and as a result the earlier chapters are still clear. Maybe introduce this world-building on page 5 instead of 20?” I’m happy to discuss the manuscript and provide possible solutions via email.

If you are interested, please contact me to discuss your project and rates. My email is: jeremyszaleditor@gmail.com

What people have been saying about my work:

“Working with Jeremy and StarShipSofa was an absolute pleasure. He’s a class act (in spite of being willing to use one of my stories) and a true champion of the science fiction community.” – Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption, The Mirror’s Truth and Swarm and Steel

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Story Release: What the Darkness Asks in Return

Another story, pulled from my brain and splashed in a gory mess onto the page, has been released into the wild that is the internet. It’s one of the shorter ones I’ve written, and was based on a prompt on a writer’s forum, where we had to write a flash piece revolving around a teleporting door. A little over a year later with some edits, this is the result, published at Every Day Fiction.

It’s about portal to a rip in space-time, disguised as a door, that a 13 year-old boy uses to hide from his step-brother. Only, as you may guess from the title, it wants something back. I wanted to try writing it in the voice of a timid teenager, with minimalist, juvenile descriptions of the speculative element. It’s a meager 800 words, so do check it out.

It can be read over here.

A Quiet Place (shh, the movie is playing!), and the Death of Player One, Stalin

I haven’t been writing as intensely these past few months, which has left me with some extra free time. Which I’ve been using to spend at the cinema.

The best of which is undoubtedly the per-screening of A Quiet Place, the directorial debut of John Krasinski. It’s a masterfully directed horror powerhouse that’s taut as piano wire and so intense it’s almost painful. This is a film that demands an audience’s attention, and deserves it. Popcorn went cold and chocolate remained uneaten, my audience was so engrossed in the raw intensity unfolding they didn’t want to make noise that would shatter the moment. This film knows its core concept is a horror goldmine, and they ran with it to the hilt.
The film’s not scary in the traditional scene, but there’s a scene where my blood felt like it was running cold – you’ll know it when you see it. No small feat for a film with less than ten lines of dialogue. Go see it with the biggest, most crowded audience you can.

I also Ready Player One with my dad tonight. Y’know, the movie that underpaid Buzzfeed  and Huffpost journalists and one-note Twitter attention seekers are declaring to be the downfall of Western civilization (and for the record, if such a movie existed I’d like to know about it). Rob Boffard covers the subject of not dog-piling on Ernie Cline’s vision better than I do, so give that a read. And RPO isn’t perfect. It’s not even mind-boggling. I was hating it for the first half an hour, and there’s dozens of quirks with the world-building and logic and I could pick at, not to mention the writing and the film’s determination to make you eat nostalgic until you burst. That pop-culture reference you like? Get ready to have it shoved down your throat until you choke. That film you treasure, that video game you enjoy? Here, have a bucket full of it, with extra salt and sauce and a free side of exploitation of everything you love. The film is iconoclasm in motion, and it knows it. And they’re banking on you seeing it because you want to see every pop culture thing you know and love mashed into a bowl and blended with everything else that might be treasured by some geek around the world.

And yet…and yet…despite all those problems, I had fun. I walked out of the cinema happy. I enjoyed my time in OASIS. That, I think, says a lot about a film’s quality if you’re able to enjoy it despite its flaws. My dad said it best when he said it’s a kids film that everyone can enjoy. There’s a scene that plays off The Shining that’s borderline sacrilegious, but jaw-dropping and worth the price of the ticket alone. Still, it demands to be seen on a big-screen, with as many pop culture junkies as possible.

Your enjoyment may vary on how much the phrase “geek culture” and its accessories makes you cringe. Me, I’ve got my reservations on doing the “geeking out” mode and drooling over every obscure reference in Marvel trailers while wearing Doctor Who PJs and sipping soft drinks out of a Superman straw. The stereotype of an overweight white guy who lives in his mum’s basement with a neckbeard is a frustrating one, mostly because it’s not always untrue. But that’s a whole other conversation; go over and read what Simon Pegg has to say on the subject (who, on many ironic levels, stars as one of the OASIS co-creators in Ready Player One.)

Then, there’s The Death of Stalin. Its almost outrageous how it manages to be dark as pitch and still out-right hilarious in its portrayal of total disregard for human life, and the madness of politics. Iannucci is King of political satire, and his scathing attack on socialism and Marxism is profound as always. It’s a better movie than RPO, but I wouldn’t see it again, whereas I might with RPO.

Finally, I checked out A Wrinkle in Time. It’s a classic example of style over substance, pushed to the hilt. There’s nice costumes, but everything else is hollow and cloying. It means well, but the writing and directing is so scattered it comes across as suffocating. It’s hard to believe this comes from the same director who brought us the nuanced and moving Selma. DuVernay didn’t just not stick the landing, she fell face-first and splattered over the ground. It’s a real shame.

As far as three excellent films out of four goes, it’s not a bad week. I’ll likely be checking out Pacific Rim 2 soon, because mechs and robots.