I consider myself to be a coach as much as an editor. I want clients who wish to learn to become proficient writers and lessen their future dependence on editors. If you plan to only make corrections from a marked up manuscript, you should seek another editor. I prefer clients who will study what I identify as major issues and address them in an intensive rewrite.
My web site offers invaluable free advice for new writers. I also offer THE FIVE BIGGEST MISTAKES OF THOSE WHO SELF-PUBLISH and THE FIVE BIGGEST MISTAKES OF NOVELISTS SEEKING COMMERCIAL PUBLICATION to those who contact me through my web site.
CREATING YOUR NOVEL
Writing a novel is similar in many ways to making a movie. When crafting fiction, you're the producer, director, screenwriter, actors, set designer, etc. An effectively written novel will play in the mind of the reader like a mental movie, only it will be a far more intimate experience than simply watching a film. You'll need to incorporate all of the senses to help the reader see the roses, smell the roses, hear the birds chirping in trees above the roses, etc.
You've likely seen movies that went on too long, thinking that if the director had cut thirty minutes of footage, the result would have been far easier to sit through. The same is true of any novel; excessive length could produce negative results.
Can you actually define what a competently written novel is? What makes three hundred pages of fiction a novel? If you're a previously unpublished author, your novel will be viewed differently than those of best-selling authors. For established authors, a novel is anything he/she wants it to be, because their name on the cover is what sells their books. Have you ever noticed that the best-selling author's name on the cover is much larger than the title itself? On your published novel. it will be the opposite; the title will be huge, whereas your name will be relatively small. Your title will sell your book because you're an unknown author.
For you, the first-time novelist, a novel is defined simply as one character who faces a significant conflict. Yes, there will also likely be an antagonist and supporting characters, but each character appearing in your story should have a distinct purpose. usually either advancing the story-line or assisting in the characterization of your lead character. And by the way, "conflict" doesn't imply action or threats alone. Emotional conflict, for instance, can be equally riveting.
Likewise, too many characters can create frustration and confusion for your reader. Imagine if you went into a crowded room and were introduced to a large number of people, then were expected to mentally keep track of who each individual was, including their backstories. Don't do that to your reader. When it comes to characters, less is usually better.
Where applicable, when I edit a manuscript, I make analogies to movies in my report. I feel that it's easier for the new writer to relate to movies than to the unfamiliar territory experienced when creating a first novel.
I welcome you to email a brief one-paragraph description of your novel to me. Imagine that your novel has been published as a paperback. What would the back cover say to entice book browsers to purchase your book? That's what I want to know when you initially contact me.
Again, I can't accept every client who contacts me, and as I get closer to retirement I'm reducing my workload and must reject more potential edits than ever. Regardless, I'm always looking for new writers who seriously approach their craft to become better and reach a professional level, clients who will make their novel the very best that they can prior to sending it to me, including thorough spellchecking and proofreading. The best editors are in great demand and are selective in terms of with whom they choose to work. Be sure to make a positive impression to increase your chance of acceptance.
Good writing to you!