The Narrative Craft: 2021 round-up

2021 round-up: a busy start

Where to begin with this year’s round-up?! It’s been a busy one. I’ve launched two new services: academic developmental editing and fiction copyediting. The main catalyst was my desire to do some more involved editorial work. I realised I needed some training, so I took Laura Portwood-Stacer’s course Developmental Editing for Academics. For fiction editing, Tanya Gold’s course Working with Indie Authors helped with the business side of things, and the CIEP Introduction to Fiction Editing taught me the basics of the craft. Big shout out to both Laura and Tanya for creating an incredibly supportive editorial community around these courses!

Tanya’s group coaching gave me the confidence to reorganise parts of my website and to start offering fiction editing and proofreading. She also inspired me to think about worldbuilding as a bridge between my interests.

The first few months

The year started with a mammoth translation project and some copywriting training on the side, which I passed with distinction. Copywriting as a career isn’t for me. Why? I Because I prefer working directly with authors and researchers on book projects, and I’m not so focused on writing to persuade. But it’s fun and the skills are important for blog writing and my website. The focus on plain English and accessible writing is a totally different ball game to academic writing and editing.

In the spring, I launched my academic developmental editing service and have worked on several interesting books and articles since. Developmental editing is tiring compared with line-editing and copyediting, which is why I prefer doing a mixture of the two. However, I’ve dropped light academic copyediting for publishers as I find this quite tedious, and it is often not very well paid.

Marketing and the website

In spring 2021 I started using a scheduler to repeat blog posts that I’d written earlier. Traffic to my website roughly doubled, as did the number of interesting jobs I received in my inbox. As I could pick and choose jobs more freely, my standard rates increased too. This gave me extra time to work on free editorial resources that can help many more people. This has also made scheduling jobs less pressured as well, as I can afford more deliberate gaps in my schedule.


I’ve worked on several interesting translation projects this year and was excited to write a reader report in June for New Books in German (NBG). The interesting translation jobs I receive arrive through my existing network, so there’s no need to focus on it on the website. I will be continuing my collaboration with NBG next year, so watch this space! In the autumn, I received a scholarship for a C2 German course to keep up my general skills, as I haven’t had many opportunities to speak German during the pandemic.

Autumn 2021

In October, I finished a course in fiction editing and started Malini Devadas’s EditBoost course on marketing and mindset work for freelance editors. This has been interesting so far and in an individual coaching session I learnt some useful tips on how to rework parts of my website, which led to the new name and logo!

The icing on the cake came in November and early December of 2021 when I became an Advanced Professional Member of the CIEP and took on a new mini (paid) role as the CIEP blog coordinator. I’ll be working on optimising blog content and reviewing it for marginalising and Othering language, among other things.

And that’s about it for this year’s round-up!

Looking back to 2020:

Last winter I talked about having become more specialised. This year has continued this trend, working towards several tightly targeted niches (including a new one, fantasy fiction!) rather than just one. I’ve achieved everything I said I wanted to. But more importantly, the resources and community help I received have sparked my branching out into fiction.

What about 2022?

Next year I plan to train in fiction developmental editing and line-editing. Fiction developmental editing and academic developmental editing are largely treated separately in the editorial world. Academic developmental editing focuses on arguments, while fiction focuses on plot, characters, and setting. I plan to bring bits of these fields together as ethnography can benefit from some of the fiction developmental-editing tools too. This feels fresh and exciting!

I plan to offer more resources on worldbuilding consulting, as this is a great way of linking up the anthropological and fiction focus in my editing.

This is why I’m really excited about working with another editor, Genevieve Clovis, on a worldbuilding webinar (scheduled for June 2022 with Editors Canada). I will also likely help organise a workshop at Edinburgh’s SFF Cymera festival with other locally based editors.

At some point, I may choose between line-editing and developmental editing, but for now I’m excited to learn more about all these skills and apply the knowledge to new jobs.

Links to the courses I mentioned

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

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