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 twenty 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.”
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:
Difference between copyediting and line editing:
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
Speculative Fiction Author/Freelance Writer & Editor
Proofreading and Writing Services
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