How to apply
It's simple. Just fill out the contact form below. You'll receive an email from Trevor, and before you know it, our team will be working away on your manuscript.
For now, all you need to do is let us know how long your story is (in words). And be sure to put Short Story Appraisal in the subject line. (Oh, and it'd be great if you could let us know how you came across The Editing Firm, too!)
If you'd prefer not to use the contact form below, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com instead.)
What you receive
10+ page report, which includes:
In-depth reviews of your plot, structure, pace, setting and tone/atmosphere, and characters (plausibility/credibility, vividness, character motivations, and dialogue). If something’s not working, we’ll show how it can be fixed.
Clear and fair discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of your story (or stories). We suggest specific story fixes which complement your story’s style and intent, with a view to helping you come up with your own solutions.
Advice on language and style. We will identify the aspects of your writing that are unique and appealing, as well as pin-pointing key writing tics, bad habits etc. The author can apply this advice to any story or novel and avoid mistakes they may have been making for years.
Book prescription – a list story collections/writers/individual stories that echo your themes, characters or style, with specific advice on what can be learned from each with respect to your own work. Authors tell us that these lists are of immense help, functioning both as a guide and an inspiration as they tackle their new draft.
Line edit of your entire manuscript. A line edit by The Editing Firm is much more than a proofread, and includes:
Using Microsoft Word’s Tracked Changes tool, we make detailed notes throughout your manuscript (note: Tracked Changes is compatible with Apple's Pages app). These are specific areas (from awkward sentence structure, fuzzy or unclear action and prolix, to implausible character psychology and continuity issues) which we think need to be reconsidered or re-worked in some way. These can be seen as yellow comment boxes in the margins of the document.
Stephen King’s redrafting equation is ‘second draft = first draft – minus 10 %’. We’ve never read (or written) a draft that didn’t need some cutting. If something’s superfluous, we’ll tell you. When we use strikethrough on a word, phrase or sentence in your manuscript, we’re suggesting you delete it, or we may offer an underlined alternative for your consideration.
All spelling mistakes and grammatical and formatting errors will be fixed for you.
"Hyland & Byrne are generous and honest, and combine real teaching and encouragement with incisive, clinical editing."
Phil Kearney-Byrne, winner of the 2012 Francis McManus Prize & longlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2013
"I'm delighted with the service. Their close reading of my work is evident in their professional, informed and detailed critical responses. Using a combination of 'tracked changes' edits and a broader structural appraisal, Maria and Trevor identify both the strengths and the weaknesses of the writing. Crucially, it's highly practical and specific advice, and it sends me back to the pages wanting to fix those elements that don't work so well. Of course, their affirmation of the parts that work successfully are no less valued for what can otherwise be a solitary process."
Des Mohan, short story writer & copilot of the workshop and retreats at Writing Space
Fees and payment process
The fee for an appraisal and full line edit of your story (of no more than 10,000 words) is £200.
Alternatively, if you'd like to submit two (maximum) stories of no more than 10,000 words combined (for example, one 4,000 word story and one 3,000 word story; or one 8,000 word story and one 2,000 word story - you get the picture!) the fee is £300.
Please note that if you'd like our senior editor M.J. Hyland to work on your novel (alongside a second editor, as outlined above), the following fees apply (click here for more details).
At The Editing Firm we're passionate about the short story form (or "the glancing form of fiction" as V.S. Pritchett so memorably and aptly put it).
Our team has published short stories in anthologies and magazines worldwide, and have won or been shortlisted for many awards. Our interests in the form are wide and varied, ranging across styles, genre and era. House favourites include Chekhov, Hemingway and Carver (there's no escaping these guys), Flannery O'Connor, John McGahern, Karen Russell, Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, Eudora Welty, Junot Diaz, Michael Chabon, Anne Enright, H.P. Lovecraft, Chris Adrian, Wells Tower, Annie Proulx, Donald Ray Pollock, Denis Johnson, Colm Toibin and Jennifer Egan.
Appraisal (Short Story)
"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."