He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Novel Editing

As a novel editor for the last decade, I’ve helped hundreds of writers tell better stories.

My editing process will show you where your book is succeeding and where it could be improved. And in the end, you’ll have a book that will attract more readers.

Some writers call this developmental editing, others call it content editing, but the result is the same: a better book.

Whether you’re self-publishing or seeking a traditional publisher, the goal is to have a book you’re proud of and that entertains readers.

Novel Editor Process

My editing helps with these elements of fiction, among others:


Are you writing the type of character that readers will find fascinating? How do characters change over the course of your novel?


Is your novel too slow or too fast? Does it offer the emotional impact you’re hoping for?

Point of View

Whose story is this? How can you improve the way the narrator relates it?


Is your dialogue lackluster or witty? Does the dialogue develop both characters and plot?

After I finish reading your novel, I write an in-depth evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. For a full novel edit, this feedback ranges from 8 to 12 pages.

With my feedback, your novel will be better at entertaining and enthralling your readers.

Two important points:

  • It’s just as important for you to know your strengths as to know your weaknesses.
  • My goal is not just to make this novel better. My goal is to improve your skills as a writer. The techniques you learn from this feedback will serve you well during your next 3 novels.

My Style

My goal is to help you create a better novel. That means you need to know where you’re succeeding and where you need to improve.

I offer specific advice on how to improve the manuscript and how you can become a better writer. You will walk away with an action-item list of what you can do to improve your novel.

About Me

Hi, my name is Danielle Dyal.

In addition to being a freelance editor, I am a consulting editor at Blair, a publishing press in Durham, North Carolina.

Formerly, I worked as an assistant editor for Enitharmon, a publishing press in London.

And along with years of professional editorial experience, I have an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) in creative writing from American University in Washington, D.C.

My goal is to help you improve your manuscript until it is ready to be sent to a literary agent, self-published, or submitted to a writing contest. In other words, I’m here to be a stepping stone for your manuscript’s path to publication.

Why Choose Me?

1. I’m fast.

Some freelance novel editors line up 5 or 6 months of clients so they can feel important. Don’t fall for it. I make sure I don’t take on a client unless I can finish their book in a reasonable time period — sometimes as quickly as one month, certainly under two months.

2. I have vast experience.

With more than a decade editing client manuscripts, I’ve been doing this longer than most novel editors. I’ve edited every genre of writing out there, from literary to sci-fi to romance (and enjoy it all, too). Don’t hire someone who’s a greenhorn. Your writing deserves an experienced eye.

3. I do much more than correct grammar and punctuation.

I’m not a novel editor who marks up possessives and missed words and then quits. My specialty is developmental editing. That means I’m giving you substantial feedback on everything about your story. Think of me as a Story Doctor, not just for this story, but for all of your writing.


“Danielle’s developmental editing was exactly what my manuscript needed to take it to the next level. She was both incredibly encouraging and unflinchingly honest. Her ability to view my novel from a comprehensive standpoint, while targeting specifics that weakened or strengthened it, was invaluable. She helped me solidify the story with suggestions for broad-stroke character as well as concept development. Not only did she help me improve this novel, but I have grown as a writer from working with her.”

– Elisabeth Gay, aspiring author

“Danielle is fantastic! Her advanced developmental editing improved every aspect of my story. I was floored by the depth of her input. She has a profound grasp of storytelling. She helped me further develop my characters, sustain tension, clarify point of view, and tighten my dialogue. Danielle reads with care, and has an eye for detail. She noticed things I did not, and suggested clever plot developments that never occurred to me. Her thoughtfully honest assessment is just what I needed. Now, my sentences are cleaner, and my prose reads with ease. The sincerity of her feedback is evident. Her passion for writing is apparent. I cannot recommend her enough, and I cannot wait to work with her again. Because of her, I am a better, and more inspired writer.”

– John L. Sullivan, author of Graves of Grandfathers

“As this was my first completed writing project, it was also my first time hiring a copy editor. Danielle’s warmth, confidence, and professionalism removed the intimidation from the process for me. I was most impressed with the editing tool and ease of comprehension even though I’m not that computer literate. And anything I didn’t understand, Danielle walked me through. I will definitely use her again.”

– Leiani Seibert, aspiring author

“Danielle is a perceptive, conscientious editor who is equally good at details and overall concept. Based on her comments, I made important improvements to my novel, Mount St. Helens, including the addition of more interiority, better transitions, stronger scene and chapter endings, and more sustained tension. These revisions, in Danielle’s own encouraging words, are meant to ‘bring what is less potent to the next level and to polish what is already strong.’”

– author of Mount St. Helens

“Danielle helped me see my novel from a big picture perspective so I could improve my novel in the places I was too attached to it to see it clearly. She also flagged the smaller issues—missing dialogue tags, awkward sentences—so I could fix those things as well. She loves books and she loved mine which made my day.”

– Jeannette Carlisle, author of untitled YA novel

“I couldn’t be happier with the copy-editing Danielle provided for my book. Her attention to detail and technical knowledge made my manuscript far better than anything I could have accomplished on my own. She cleaned up punctuation and improved countless awkward sentences, even caught a character name change that had eluded me through no less than ten iterations of the manuscript. If you want professional looking copy, hire Danielle. I liked her work so much, I just contracted with her for my next book.”

– Lew Gibb, author of The Journey Home: Wilsons’ Saga Book 1

“I’m amazed by the line by line detailed critique of my manuscript. I’m thrilled with [Danielle’s] work.”

– Reign Elise Fleming, aspiring author

“Danielle helped me both with developmental editing and copy editing. She matched an understanding of genre with constructive honesty about my drafts’ strengths and weaknesses, then brought my work to a polished, professional level. She met deadlines and happily took questions about her edits. Thanks to Danielle, I feel confident sending my work on to agents and publishers.”

– Peter Heasley, author of The Darkening Moon

“Danielle worked on my first manuscript and did a fantastic job polishing it. I shared some content issues with her and asked her to keep an eye out for them. She’s thorough, checked on all I had asked and enhanced the content without losing the original writing.

Danielle is efficient, considerate, and sends work back quickly. I would highly recommend her.”

– Kirthana Fanning, author of Zinger

“Being a very early stage author, I found Danielle’s developmental editing to be immeasurably helpful. Writing is very personal, and she handles that vulnerability very well. The feedback on the strengths of my piece provided validity and momentum for the revision work ahead. Her detailed constructive feedback was logical, insightful, and provided a roadmap to unleashing the potential in the story and fixing lapses in plotting, pacing, and character arcs. Danielle provided a helpful reference suggestion to further develop my handling of character expression. I would strongly encourage anyone who would like to take their writing to a professional level to invest in themselves and employ Danielle’s impressive skillset.  Thank you, Danielle!”

– Philip Godfrey, author of Lions to Lambs

What is Your Pricing?

So to help you with the math, these are some estimates for a 70,000 word novel.

Tier 3 (Feedback Letter & Comments Throughout Manuscript):


Tier 2 (Feedback Comments Throughout Manuscript):


Tier 1 (Feedback Letter):


(For those of you who struggle with math, you multiply your word count by .025, .03, or .035.)

All of these prices are for novels over 70,000 words, so if you have a novella that is fewer words than that, please contact me for pricing.

Other Editing Options

Ask Me Questions

You can email me or use the form below:


If you have any other questions about fiction editing or novel editing, please let me know.

Danielle Dyal Editing