Pro Copyediting | Proofreading | Writing

Susan VanHecke Editorial


Copyediting and Proofreading

As a copyeditor, I put your manuscript under the microscope, correcting errors, querying questionable passages, and preparing a style sheet, a record of editorial choices that's used throughout the production process. Copyediting is performed at light, medium, or heavy levels. The difference between levels is the degree of judgment and rewriting involved:

light copyedit includes correcting faulty spelling, grammar, and punctuation; correcting incorrect usage; checking cross-references; ensuring consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization; and checking for proper sequencing in lists and other displayed material.

medium copyedit includes all light copyediting tasks, plus changing text and headings for parallel structure; flagging inappropriate figures of speech; tracking continuity of plot, setting, and character; and flagging ambiguous or incorrect passages.

heavy copyedit includes all light and medium copyediting tasks, plus eliminating wordiness and clichéd writing, smoothing transitions and reconfiguring sentences to improve readability, reconfiguring to achieve logical structure, and suggesting or implementing additions and deletions at the sentence and paragraph level.

I also provide both proofreading and editorial proofreading. When proofreading, I check typeset copy word for word against the manuscript, identifying typographic errors and querying editorial errors. As an editorial proofreader, I combine proofreading with light copyediting.

Writing and Editing

I provide powerful writing crafted to your project's needs. As a cowriter and ghostwriter, I'm able to quickly grasp your story, then intuitively transform your ideas into artful prose that maintains your distinctive voice. Together, we'll create a product you'll be proud to call your own.

For developmental editing, also known as substantive or comprehensive editing, I take a big-picture view of your project, considering its concept, organization, logic, completeness, clarity, consistency, and tone, as well as—for fiction—plot, pacing, characterization, and narrative arc. I restructure and rewrite, plus identify problem areas so that you can easily resolve them.

Manuscript Evaluation 

My manuscript critique is comprised of a detailed written evaluation that, for fiction, includes comments on characterization, dialogue, setting, plot, and writing technique, plus suggestions for further development of the manuscript. I also address your specific questions and concerns about the project. Evaluation of partial and full manuscripts is available, as well as first chapters.

Full: Critique of your entire manuscript in standard format.

Partial: Critique of a portion of your manuscript, any length, in standard format, plus synopsis. 

First chapter: Critique of your first chapter and synopsis, up to 25 pages total, in standard manuscript format. First-chapter fee may be credited toward cost of subsequent full manuscript evaluation.

Fact-Checking and Research

For fact-checking, I verify to your specifications the accuracy of your manuscript's content. When researching, I collect, organize, and, if you desire, analyze and interpret information for use in your manuscript. I'm also skilled in photo research and acquisition, finding and securing reproducible artwork for your project within budget, obtaining permissions, and clearing copyright requirements.


Your manuscript is unique, with its own strengths, issues, challenges, and time and budget constraints. I'm happy to provide an estimate, which you can request using the contact form.

I base my project fees on rates standard in the industry, as outlined by the Editorial Freelancers Association (a manuscript page is 250 words). See the EFA's Editorial Rates chart for more.

I'm delighted to provide a sample edit of up to 500 words.


Standard Manuscript Format: 8.5" x 11" double-spaced pages, 12-point font, 1-inch margins.

Style Guides: Unless otherwise specified, I use Chicago Manual of Style. I also know AP style and can easily conform to any house style.