September C. Fawkes
Mentored by a creative writing professor, an award-winning international best-selling author, and a professional editor, I have worked in the fiction-writing industry for over six years and have been editing stories for longer. I have edited for both award-winning and best-selling authors and have worked on manuscripts written for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers, with most of my experience being in the genres of fantasy and science fiction.
I hold an English degree with honors from Dixie State University, where I wrote my thesis on the worldwide appeal of Harry Potter. I served as a fiction editor and managing editor for the literary journal The Southern Quill. Today, I do work through New York Times best-selling author David Farland, editing his workshop students’ manuscripts, writing assignments, and sometimes, David’s own books. When not editing, I’m penning my own stories and running an award-winning writing tip blog. I also serve as a writing coach on WritersHelpingWriters.net (home of the Emotion Thesaurus).
My writing tip articles have appeared on Grammar Girl and in classrooms; my “story dissections” have hit the front page of Hypable three times, and my series on Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar has been turned into its own unit in a creative writing class.
Pricing: $27 per hour
Content Editing – In content editing, I look at the larger parts of the story, identifying and providing suggestions for weaknesses and possible ideas to take strengths to the next level. This may include such aspects as plot, characterization, theme, overall story structure, arcs, pacing, conflict, and setting. It also may contain more specific elements, like subtext, context, audience experience and appeal, tension, relationships, and hitting the right emotions. This edit focuses on what the overall story is.
Line Editing – In line editing, I go through the manuscript line by line, evaluating the way the story is written and looking at such things as tone, style, flow, descriptions, blocking, in-text emotional beats, line-by-line continuity, specificity, clarity in meaning, sentence structure, word choice, dialogue, and how accurately the writer is communicating to the reader. I will consider how the writer can communicate more powerfully. I may also watch for grammatical issues and reoccurring punctuation problems. This edit focuses on how the story is told.
Copyediting – I will watch for and fix typos, grammatical issues, punctuation errors, spelling, inappropriate changes in tenses or viewpoints or pronouns, improper word choice, misplaced modifiers, and more. This is an edit that should only be done after the content and overall lines of the story have been solidified
View all of my information at FawkesEditing.com
“Her editing is precise and insightful. She gets to the heart of the story and makes suggestions to tighten and sharpen the prose until it isn’t just alive, but thriving. Fawkes encourages you to be the best author you can be.”
– Jake Marley, Grand Prize Winner of Writers of the Future, the largest short story competition in the world.
“Fawkes has worked as my assistant now for several years. I love working with her for a number of reasons: she’s self-motivated, insightful, and is willing to tackle any job that I ask of her. More and more, I’ve had her editing work for me–looking over novels and writing assignments and offering critiques. Very often, the authors that we work with tell me, ‘Thank Fawkes for all of her valuable suggestions. I was just simply blown away by her insights and her thoroughness.’ And they’re right. She is a fine editor. That’s why I ask her to look over just about everything that I send out for publication.”
– David Farland, New York Times best-selling, award-winning author; editor; and greenlight analyst.
“I am so thankful for the editing work that Fawkes did on my first novel, The Feather and the Moon Well. Not only did I receive great edits, but she also offered terrific suggestions to improve my story. Working with Fawkes also taught me ways to improve my writing that I will forever carry with me. I would eagerly recommend her for any writing venture.”
– Shean Pao, A David Farland Discovery and Author of The Feather and the Moon Well
“I found her comments on my MS thoughtful, detailed, precise, and kind. She is a critiquer after my own heart. I thought she did a very good job. One of the things she mentioned caught my eye particularly–where I gave a description of the MC’s emotional reaction expressed physically and she highlighted it as a potential POV break because the description could easily be viewed as something that is much more like what a person looking at my character would see rather than what my character would be aware of himself, being behind his own eyes and all. It was a comment that shows me that she is really paying attention, and has a fine understanding of POV.”
– Joshua Essoe, Full-time Professional Freelance Editor and Writer
“As a student of David Farland’s tutelage, I’ve received explicit editorial comments from September C. Fawkes. I distinctly remember the first time her suggestions popped up in the margins of my manuscript. It’s a fond memory. Not because they were glowing praises of my prose, to the contrary, she’d shown a spotlight on a number of my writing flaws. I enjoyed her edits because they were accurate and succinct. Most importantly to a fragile ego like my own, they were tactful and expressed in a fun and witty voice. It made swallowing them not the chocking hazard of previous forays into voluntary and professional editing alike. Fawkes employs a high command of the literary skills necessary to tell a compelling story and the empathy to guide authors through the turbulent waters of their own creation.”
– Ryan Holmes, Former Marine Corps grunt turned aerospace engineer for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Writer
“As an instructor, and a professional creative writer myself, I immediately recognized talent . . . Fawkes shows a thoughtfulness concerning image and scene that is refreshing and beautiful.”
– Chelsi Sutton-Linderman, Poet; Creative Nonfiction Writer
“After serving initially as a fiction editor [on The Southern Quill], she became the publication’s managing editor and oversaw the production of the 2011 edition—arguably the best in the journal’s 50-year history.”
– Stephen B. Armstrong, Ph.D., Professor of English, Dixie State University
As an editor, it’s my job to bring your manuscript to the next level, while keeping in mind that this is your story, not mine. Any suggestions I make are simply that, editorial suggestions. Ultimately, your story should fit your vision and be a reflection of you. I strongly believe in providing both positive and negative feedback–not because I’m trying to stroke your ego or get a bigger paycheck–but because it is just as important to know what is working as it is to know what isn’t. I help you fully harness your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses, providing not only advice on the manuscript itself, but ideas on how you, the writer, can take your writing to the next level (if you so desire).
I strongly believe in the power that comes from learning to write with intention and control. To me, this often means bringing things we notice from the subconscious experience of reading and writing into the conscious part of the mind, learning how they function, and gaining control over them so that you can give your readers an accurate story experience of what you intended. Some discovery writers may read that and say “This is not for me,” but even discovery writing benefits from being conscious of story elements. In fact, being more conscious means you may have more elements you can discover. I have spent years breaking down parts of stories that almost all readers, and even many writers are blind to, but that enhance the story and make it superior. In short, I’ll find new ways you can grow as a writer, which you’ll be able to take into every future project.
With all that said, I work for you and will tweak my approach to suit what you are looking for, whether it’s simply fixing typos or as content specific as refining relationships between characters.
Check out an index of all my writing tips here.
Follow my award-winning blog for the latest.
Years in the field: 6
Years freelancing: 1