Proofreading and Writing Services – Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Hi, my name is Lawrence, and I’m a writer of fiction and non-fiction.  If you clicked on this page, then you are probably interested in my proofreading services, or at the very least, wondering what I can do in regards to the written word.  Let me first tell you a little bit about myself and this website.  Many people know me as an author of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror), and my name is pretty synonymous within the small press.  I’ve been writing for well over fifteen years, and I have an extensive publishing history.  Think of this site as a sort of virtual resume of some of my previous work, upcoming work, and publications.  Not just the services I provide, since I consider myself a working writer.  I’ve been called prolific when it comes to writing short stories and informative when it comes to magazine articles.  Wherever I go, any social media platform I visit, people tend to say, “Oh, Lawrence Dagstine, he’s that Scifi/Horror writer.  Sure, I’ve heard of him.”

This is me, hard at work for you.

Unfortunately, it’s a label I’m stuck with—because I chose to enter that field and write in that form.  You see, as a child I grew up to movies like Star Wars and Aliens, TV shows like Doctor Who and The Incredible Hulk, and I read Marvel comic books and digested good science fiction literature (no, great!).  Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, you name it.  I read voraciously! I lived around the corner from a Forbidden Planet and was practically there every day.  I did book reports on lengthy Stephen King novels in 2nd and 3rd grade, and was the head of the boys in reading and writing in my school district at the time (the 1980s).  Years back my IQ was tested and I got a score of 150 (teachers called me gifted).  I even delivered prescriptions to the late Kurt Vonnegut and, for a brief period, became friends with him and he a sort of mentor to me.  So reading and writing, especially genre, has always been in my blood.  But I prefer to be called a Freelance Writer because I work with words in general.  It’s what I studied.  Not just fiction.  Genre fiction is pretty much the “fandom” side.  And it is very hard to make a full-time income writing fiction, as most genre writers are paid a pittance.  I’ve known writers who got their BA or MA, thinking they were going to write the next literary masterpiece or appear in The Paris Review, only to become editors or teachers.  They weren’t delusional, they had the confidence, their hearts were in it, they just dreamed a little too high is all.  Even I dreamed high once, then my first client base involved writing and proofing pamphlets and instruction manuals.  So you really need to expand your writing skills to other areas, other venues.

Now if you’ve written something that you feel needs improvement, but don’t know how to go about fixing it, ask yourself a few questions… Have you ever had trouble with words like ‘further’ and ‘farther?’ Perhaps verb usage? Do you know the difference between their/there/they’re? Did you know that words like ‘never mind’, or ‘any more’, or ‘all together’ are not compound words? They’re all two words! Does your story have a beginning, a middle, and an end? Plenty of conflict? Because something has to happen in your story, and something has to be resolved.  The first sentence means more than you know, because it’s the first thing the reader sees after the title and byline.  It’s what immediately draws the reader in.  What about non-fiction, or product placement, or a cool advertisement? Maybe you have an idea and want somebody to word that idea a certain way, where it can potentially become a moneymaking vehicle.  Maybe you need help creating or formatting a resume or cover letter, want to stand out from the rest of the crowd when it comes time to apply for that killer job.  Need a catalog done, or a brochure, or a catchy slogan? Need some minor ghostwriting (query)? Textbook writing or editing? Essays or proposals? Striking web content for a business or organization? Help with a novelette or novella? What’s that? Want me to write you a Western Romance? Okay, I’ll write you a Western Romance.  You’re the boss.

No matter what it is, if it involves words, I can probably help you.  My publishing history consists of over 400 fiction credits in print magazines, webzines, anthologies, and miscellaneous periodicals.  My non-fiction consists of 150 credits, online and offline, for small and medium circulation newspapers, trade journals, regionals, and everyday magazines in need of good filler.  I’ve penned video game reviews in the past for Nintendo Power and written greeting card jingles for Hallmark’s competitors.  I’ve written articles on the paranormal, pharmaceuticals, beach erosion, Native American spirituality, theology, historical subjects, marriage, divorce, pets, vacation spots, real estate, wrestling and more.  I’ve shared tables of contents with two Hugo Award winners and two Bram Stoker winners.  I can do just about 75% of what’s out there.

Still in doubt? Well, ask yourself these 12 sample questions.

Do you know how to assemble a story arc? Do you know what character development is? Do you know what a three-act and five-act narrative is? Are you familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style? Have you ever referenced the work of John Gardner (On Becoming a Novelist, The Forms of Fiction, The Art of Fiction)? Do you know the difference between literary and mainstream? Do you know what structural analysis is? Have you ever studied English Literature—authors like Graham Greene, Truman Capote, EM Forster, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the like? Do you know what proper manuscript format is? Do you know the difference between filler and feature article? Do you know how to write a pitch? Do you know the difference between a plot formula and a plot device? Heck, do you even know what I’m talking about?

If you answered no to five or more of the above, then it wouldn’t hurt to have me or some other qualified individual as your proofreader/editor.  Because I will only improve your fiction or non-fiction project, and only to your liking.  That is what I do.  I work with words.  Think of me as a sort of literary engineer.  I check for errors, make corrections, do any necessary research, and make your prose more persuasive.  I assist you in getting it the attention it deserves.  I develop fresh, innovative, and compelling work.  I drive constant voice, grammar, format, and diction across all text.  I know that your project is your baby.  It was birthed from your imagination.  But you must be able to take criticism and suggestions.  It will only help your project stand out from the rest, and help you get better.  What I am not is a copy editor.  A copy editor is an entirely different animal.  Copy editors usually work, or have worked, for publishing houses.  And good ones (not the kind you see for these run-of-the-mill small presses, who also publish their own books with the same company).  They do what’s called line edits.  They review your manuscript and send it to you with revisions in a program like Microsoft Word.  I do NOT do line edits.  Yes, I am certified in editing, but there is a great difference between a workshop certificate and a staff editor with more than 10 years experience at one of the big houses.  Yes, I have a background and education in journalism, creative writing, technical writing, and the business side of writing that could very well meet your needs.  Yes, as a proofreader I will go over your manuscript a minimum of three times, acquiring your voice and style.  Yes, I will print out your story or article, take a red pen to it, highlight certain areas I feel should be highlighted, and tell you what I think.  Yes, as your proofreader I will pay attention to the usual stuff like grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency and sentence structure.  But I am not a copy editor.  I’m being honest here.  Even I use an outside editor for lengthy projects.  Because everybody needs a qualified editorial eye.  After all, how can you successfully edit a work that came from your own subconscious mind?

Difference between copyediting and proofreading:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/the-difference-between-copyediting-and-proofreading/

Difference between copyediting and line editing:

http://publicizeyourbook.blogspot.com/2007/04/difference-between-copy-and-line.html

A copy editor will usually charge you by the word or line (I charge a flat fee).  They often do book manuscripts, and make up what’s called a style sheet.  If you’re looking for one, personally, I suggest looking for someone with at least three years experience.  Also, be careful of line editors posing as copy editors, as they can really screw up the flow of your manuscript if they don’t know what they’re doing.  This has happened to me.

Once again, I charge a very affordable flat fee.  Satisfaction guaranteed.  On a budget? I understand we’re still in a recession, the economy may very well not be good for years to come, and because of that, I am willing to work with you.  I expect at least half the cost of the project at the beginning of our agreement.  You are to pay me the other half after the project is finished.  Our email acts as a sort of electronic contract, if you will.  Research or additional time spent on projects (like staying up all night and losing sleep to meet a deadline on your behalf), costs extra.  And no, not an arm and a leg.  You are responsible for the cost of things like encyclopedias, visual aids, books purchased on Amazon, transportation places, or other reference materials.  I fact-check well, and I give citations where instructed or needed.  I do great copy—print copy! I’m not the kind of lazy individual who just looks something up on Google or Wikipedia.  Google is one of the worst reference tools you can turn to.  That’s because you usually find more than one answer to a particular question.  A long time ago I was commissioned to do a short article on Planned Parenthood in the new millennium.  I needed abortion statistics.  I found eleven well-rounded, informative sites by using Google.  The only problem is I found eleven different statistics.  So which was the right answer? For your project, if I have to go to a library, then so be it.  To the library it is.

I put in the time and effort to make your project as professional as possible.  I am proficient in Microsoft Word and Open Office (sorry, no crappy programs like WordPerfect).  I can give your project the treatment it deserves, and if you feel it needs work or you are not fully satisfied, I will tailor it to suit your needs at no additional cost.  I want you to be happy with my work.  I want you to succeed.  You retain all rights.  My name does not go on your written material.  I merely spruce it up.  So do you have something that involves the written word? Send me an email today for a free evaluation or price quote.  Give me an outline of your project and what you’re looking for.  Tell me about yourself and the work you do in three to six paragraphs; small businesses and companies most welcome.  If you want, I’ll even give you a freebie.  Three double-spaced pages for fiction (or 1,000 words); a half-a-page for non-fiction (150 words)—absolutely free! Have a fax machine? Want more proof emailed to you? Press clips always available upon request.  And I do simple typing too!

So contact me today, tell a friend, because no project is too large.  All material should be sent as an attachment.  I look forward to our partnership and any questions you may have.  Contact: ldagstine @ hotmail.com

Sincerely Yours,

Lawrence Dagstine

Speculative Fiction Author/Freelance Writer & Editor

Proofreading and Writing Services

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Lawrence Dagstine: why I write short stories…

Many an aspiring author — and professional, too — has asked me over the past year why I write short stories.  Or, at the very least, why I choose to.  Naturally, it’s a field you won’t get rich from.  Matter of fact, if you happen to be one in that ten-thousand median author range to be on the lookout for, chances are you probably won’t even break the $5000 mark per year from all sources “writing-related”.   If you write novel-length genre works, major houses will usually yield print runs of 3000 copies.  Everybody wants a piece of the pie; the only thing is, there is no pie.  There are so many micro-presses these days that anybody can become a writer.  In most cases, this has screwed up the marketplace; I blame this slow literary death on technological globalization.

So what do we do to assure ourselves a cut and immortality? We annex and fan-club the profession.  This isn’t a terrible thing, but it’s all we’ve got right now until we come up with a better game plan, right? At the same time, I also believe we shouldn’t write for the masses because you never know what might work or what might not. 

October 1927 Copy of Short Stories Magazine

October 1927 Copy of Short Stories Magazine

The writing game is the extra income game, but it’s also the poor man’s game.  Which brings me back to my original topic: why short stories? Hey, why not? Life is short, and you should get your voice heard no matter what the venue.  That’s my philosophy.  But rather than tell you what motivates me to write short stories, why I prefer it over the long form (not to say there isn’t anything in the works; that’s for another day), and why I still persist at it… Well, I decided to search the Internet for like-minded individuals.  People who prefer to write short stories, too.

The first is Bev Vincent (author of The Road to the Dark Tower).  Every once in a while I do find a little gem of a post over at Storyteller’s Unplugged.  Bev is always astute and charming in his posts, and with this particular blog entry, he practically took the words right out of my mouth.  Because these are my very same thoughts.  Along with that, I’ve provided a few other links on why it really doesn’t matter, why sometimes it does, and on how what I mentioned above is so true… Life being short, so just submit…

WHY WRITE SHORT STORIES by Bev Vincent (Storyteller’s Unplugged):

http://www.storytellersunplugged.com/why-write-short-stories

 HOW MUCH DOES WRITING PAY by Nut (The Writer’s Coin):

http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2008/09/04/how-much-does-writing-pay/

 MY WIFE IS RUINING MY DREAMS by Chris Cope (Life Files):

http://www.theindychannel.com/family/16557240/detail.html

Also, the last time I did a post of this nature I forgot to stress the importance of an editorial filter, and I didn’t focus enough on non-fiction writing.  My last rant was geared more toward genre, and I apologize for that.  However, in the same fashion, I’d rather you read “How” and “Why” I do it (and what’s to be had from it), from the likes of others, rather than myself.  And in their own words.

HOW TO WRITE FOR MAGAZINES by Jason Arnopp (Bloggery Pokery)

http://jasonarnopp.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-to-write-for-magazine.html

SMALL PRESS MAGAZINES: SHOULD YOU BOTHER? by Bruce Boston

(Sam’s Dot Publishing/Writing World.Com)

http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/boston.shtml

THE AMATEUR vs. PROFESSIONAL MYTHOS

FREELANCE PROFESSIONAL WRITERS HATE AMATEUR WRITERS by Lance Winslow

http://ezinearticles.com/?Free-Lance-Professional-Writers-Hate-Amateur-Writers&id=227821

HOW WRITERS CAN BENEFIT FROM THE SHORT STORY MARKET by Paul Turner 

http://www.articlesbase.com/writing-articles/how-writers-can-benefit-from-the-short-story-market-469055.html

WHAT MAKES A WRITER A PROFESSIONAL by Bruce Byfield

http://brucebyfield.wordpress.com/2007/06/08/what-makes-a-writer-a-professional/

INTERNET SMACKDOWN: THE AMATEUR VS. THE PROFESSIONAL by Tony Long

http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/theluddite/2007/06/luddite_0621

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and submit that story.  As the professionals mentioned in the links above, these are the same exact reasons “Why” and “How” I do it.  And always remember, just because you’re not getting a piece of the pie, doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. 😉

Cheers.

Lawrence R. Dagstine

Lawrence Dagstine: The Coney Island Project…

As a freelancer, a few weeks ago I politely asked my supervising editor if I could have a crack at what is currently nicknamed: THE CONEY ISLAND PROJECT (the name is just a working title among staff at the moment, and it will be given a new name once the project is completed).  Thankfully, I have until February.  The end result will be a rich, historical look at one of Brooklyn’s most renowned seasonal attractions.  TCIP will be a 5,000 word article, which may even top 7,500 words, accompanied by full color photography and interviews with amusement park workers and area residents.  This is my first reporting gig, too, and so far I’ve taken a total of 192 pictures — 20 of which can be found below; these particular ones will probably not make the final cut.  And now that beautiful Coney Island’s final season is upon us, many of the rides are going to be knocked down to make way for a multi-billion dollar redevelopmet project — condominiums, a new redesigned theme park, a super mall, et la.  Supposedly, a rich tycoon from Iraq purchased a few rides, while tons of others were auctioned off on the Web.  Rides such as DANTE’S INFERNO, SPOOKARAMA, and BREAK DANCE, I got fantastic last day shots of (I was there for the closing).

Here’s what’s going on: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/coney_island

The estimated buyout was supposedly $30 Million. Astroland’s owner didn’t renew on a two-year lease.  However, Deno’s Wonder Wheel is independently owned and will be back next year.

The Wonder Wheel - founded 1920

The Wonder Wheel - founded 1920

I’m also now looking beyond the landmarks presented before you (the ones they can’t knock down), to make room for a non-fiction book filled with equally rich photography and history about the location.  The last forty or so years in particular…

Here are some more snapshots, accompanied by what they are:

The Wonder Wheel - founded 1920

The Wonder Wheel - founded 1920

The Wonder Wheel - founded 1920

The Wonder Wheel - founded 1920

The World Famous Cyclone (side view) - founded 1927

The World Famous Cyclone (side view) - founded 1927

This was one of my crappier shots taken while trying to get all side angles of The Cyclone, which was founded on June 26th 1927.  Since its stunning debut more than 80 years ago, the popular roller coaster has undergone some major facelifts and renovations.  The original even burned down to the ground.  Below, you’ll find a distant shot of the infamous Parachute Jump (also sometimes referred to by Brooklynites as the Parachute Drop).  People have gotten trapped at the top of this ride over the years — sometimes for HOURS at a time — including my old man during the 1960’s.  It’s also said that, back during that same era, somebody actually got decapitated whilst coming down on it.  It was first introduced during the 1939 World’s Fair, and received much popularity from the 1950’s on.  The Parachute Jump has also undergone many renovations.  Like the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone it, too, is a New York landmark. 

The Parachute Jump - introduced 1939

The Parachute Jump - introduced 1939

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk

Food and Beverages Galore - only at Coney Island

Food and Beverages Galore - only at Coney Island

Up above, along with the beach and Parachute Drop in the distant horizon, the famous Boardwalk! The food here is out of this world.  During the summers, on Friday nights between 9PM and 10PM, there’s free fireworks from the beachfront.  The food vendors and shops consist of all flavors of ice cream.  Then there’s clams, shrimp, and all other manners of seafood…salt water taffy and cotton candy, fresh draft beer, pina coladas, sausage and pepper heros, gyros, pizza, hamburgers and fish sandwiches, and how can anybody forget Famous Nathan’s Hot Dogs and delicious Cheese Fries?

In the far distance, what used to be the game areas between Steeplechase Park and Luna Park have long since been closed.  Back in the 60’s, much of it was shut down due to gang violence. 

Astroland Park - leased out June 18th 1975

Astroland Park - leased out June 18th 1975

Astroland Park - leased out June 15th 1975

Astroland Park - leased out June 15th 1975

The whole area surrounding the famous rides, however, would be leased out as one big amusement park-like attraction in the summer of 1975 (a key year to my next book project), and it would come to be known as Astroland!

In the pictures above, one of many eateries along that particular stretch of Boardwalk.  The Wonder Wheel and Cyclone are just behind the Astroland Rocket, and I think I got a pretty good shot of the Hamburger Boy (with hungry seagull sitting atop).

During the summer, you have free concerts every Thursday night over at Asser Levy Park, which is located just along Surf Avenue and West 5th Street.  Many superstars have performed there over the years.  Billy Joel, Billy Ocean, Liza Minnelli, Huey Lewis and the News, and even Scissor Sisters!

Here are some snapshots of the kiddie rides over at Deno’s Wonder Wheel:

Carousel

Carousel

Willie the Whale

Willie the Whale

Dizzy Dragons

Dizzy Dragons

Donald Duck

Donald Duck

These next few sample shots below are interesting to say the least.  They’re located just before Coney Island, along the Boardwalk, but after the Brooklyn Aquarium.  The murals on the super long wall are a montage to the sights and sounds of not just the Aquarium but Coney Island’s history and culture.   It will give you a general idea as to what various portions of my article will consist of. 

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

History of Coney Island and Brooklyn Aquarium - mural wall

A Flat Fee job, nevertheless, but one that I can be proud of.  I hope fellow New Yorkers will feel the same.

Most of all, I’d especially like to thank two other people for their contributions.  Fellow muse, Arlene Rose, for helping me secure photos to this past year’s Mermaid Parade (something I would never have been able to get for this freelance project), and Arturo Ramirez, for getting me better photography equipment at the last minute.

For general information about Coney Island, visit: http://www.coneyisland.com/

Coney Island Photographs © 2008 Lawrence R. Dagstine

Withersin Magazine, Coming 2009/2010… (acceptance)

Withersin Magazine picked up a piece of mine for 2009/2010.  Published thrice per year by Editor Misty L. Gersley, it’s just one of those professional horror journals that are well-put together and you can’t get enough of.   Each issue is 6×9, 100 perfect-bound pages, and only $20.00 per year for a subscription.  Fiction, non-fiction, art and MORE! Info to be released as I get it…

 

 http://withersin.com/withersin.htm

 

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