Louisa and John Louisa and Gillian Louisa and Keno

Editing Your Dissertation: What makes a great editor?

If you’re writing a dissertation or a paper for publication, chances are you’ve become an expert in your field.  You’ve been immersed in research, maybe for years, and the process of synthesizing all that information into a single document feels like giving birth to an elephant. You submit a draft, and your adviser tells you need an editor. What do you do?

There are countless editing services out there, but finding an editor who READS deeply, FOLLOWS your ideas, and OPTIMIZES their expression isn’t easy. Here are some of the strong points of my service that have earned me the testimonials I have to date, both here and on my Thumbtack page.

  • Style: Many writers aren’t aware of the default sentence structures they tend to overuse. Weak verbs, passive and “there/it is” constructions, overly convoluted or choppy, disconnected sentences – all these can detract from your reader’s experience. I convert your sentences to livelier prose without affecting your ideas. If I’m ever concerned that I may have altered an idea, I mark the phrase or passage for your special attention.
  • Cutting redundancy:  Say it once, say it well.  In the specific formats required for many disciplines, it’s easy to inadvertently say the same thing twice or three times.  Admittedly, a point made under Methods may be similar to one made under Findings.  But identical phrasing?  You don’t want that.  I can catch these redundancies and root them out.
  • Grammar and punctuation:  I find and fix errors.  (I was Betty for the UW’s “Ask Betty” grammar site for four years.)
  • APA, Chicago, MLA:  These formats all change their requirements almost yearly (I suspect so the associations can sell more guides).  I cull the internet for the latest formats and crosscheck them with those of your institution.
  • Nice person:  I may be a dissertation editor, but I’m also a former scholar and a kind, respectful individual.  I work with you on a personal basis, understanding the importance of this document and the pressures you’re under to submit it on time.   Over time, we develop a mutual trust and cordial friendship.
  • Great Price: At $70/hour, my rate is low, considering the rare ability I have to assimilate complex ideas and clarify their expression. Many editing services charge per word or even per character, whereas I charge for actual WORK. Exactly how many pages I can edit in an hour varies with the number of edits per page.  I may sail through thirteen pages per hour with light edits, or have to slog through at seven per hour for ESL writers with many tiny errors or wording difficulties.  I often begin with a sample hour of editing so you can feel good about it my work before you commit.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  I’d be happy to refer you to past clients as references.