September 28, 2015

Lisa Poisso | Editor & Story Coach

The help you need right when you need it

One of the first things I realized when I began working with fiction writers is that a lot of expensive editing time simply goes to waste. The traditional editing sequence works best for people whose stories are already solid. But why spend all that time and money microanalyzing and polishing a story that’s not ready for its closeup?

That’s when I developed the Plot Accelerator. We start at your story’s foundation, making sure the conceptual and big-picture elements that drive the plot are sound. Before your manuscript leaves the launchpad, you’ll have a concept and story that will hold up to the entire journey. Never written a novel before? A Mini Edit helps you bridge the gaps in your writing technique—before you slog through writing and editing an entire manuscript.

Now you’re getting the kind of help you need right when you need it. No more wasting time and money on a manuscript that’s not ready for prime time. You get the chance to course-correct long before you’re neck-deep in a comprehensive edit. It’s the perfect opportunity to stretch your wings with the support of an editorial safety net.


The Plot Accelerator

The First StepDon’t drain your editing budget on a story that’s not ready for prime time. The Plot Accelerator lets you suss out if your story “works” before you commit to an edit—even before you begin writing.

“I love how you’ve distilled all these approaches … into a practical guide. Your material takes it from theory to practice. Brilliant!”—Scott Jarol

A Plot Accelerator is a one-on-one analysis of your story wrapped around a course in story structure and theory. It’s not an evaluation or edit of your manuscript itself. Think of it as an X-ray of the bones of your story: concept, genre, character motivation, story conflict … all the elements that drive your plot and make the story work. It’s a challenging pre-editing process that you can use as a blueprint before you write or a diagnostic tool afterwards.

The Accelerator begins with supercharged tutorials on classic story structure and the techniques that underlie literature and storytelling. Study at your own pace, then complete the worksheet on your own story. From there, we’ll dig into your analysis together. Explore new ideas. Ask questions. Find out what works and why—long before you find yourself neck-deep in an edit for a manuscript whose story wasn’t quite ready for lift-off.

Running a Plot Accelerator takes about a month. The sooner we get started, the sooner you’ll be writing from a strong concept and foundation, and the sooner you’ll be done dodging plot holes and story problems.

“Lisa is undoubtedly some manner of sorceress when it comes to identifying and fixing the dissonance that can so easily creep between the story you thought you wanted to tell and the one that landed on the page.”—Luke R. Mitchell

What It Is: A storytelling workshop and in-depth analysis of your story—like a mini-developmental edit and storytelling course all in one

What You Get: Tutorials covering story structure and theory and the elements that drive plot; a guided analysis of your story; one-on-one feedback and dialogue about the foundations of your story; craft resources and writing tools; follow-up phone call or Skype

Who It’s For: Authors seeking a cost-effective way to make sure their stories “work”; authors who want story editing but don’t have the budget or time for a developmental edit; authors who want the faster writing times that come from well-developed story foundations

How Much It Costs: $399 (save when you bundle with a Mini Edit)


Coming Soon: The next step—Plot Accelerator 2.0


Lisa Poisso, Book Editor and Writing Coach

The Mini Edit

If there’s one thing you’ve learned about the craft of fiction writing, it’s that the techniques used are simple to define but difficult to execute. How about some one-on-one guidance? Level up your writing technique by focusing the power of substantive editing on forty pages of your writing.

What It Is: A story- and language-level edit of 10,000 words (about 40 pages)

What You Get: Substantive edit of 10,000 words (about 40 pages) of your manuscript, including story editing to optimize your story power; substantive editing to tune your narrative technique (point of view, dialogue tags and beats, balance of scene vs. exposition, transitions and hooks, and so on); line editing to smooth and develop your writing; copyediting to address mechanical elements of your writing and style; plus one-on-one feedback and recommendations in an editorial memo

Who It’s For: Authors seeking to polish their first pages for query and submission; authors who need a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not working in their writing; new-to-fiction writers seeking to solidify their narrative technique

How Much It Costs: $399 (save when you bundle with a Plot Accelerator)


Manuscript Critique

Is your manuscript ready for sending to agents and publishing houses? Does the story hold water? Is this book ready for self-publishing? A manuscript critique is best for seasoned authors who want an objective view of the strengths and weaknesses of their novels, minus the on-manuscript editing and feedback.

What It Is: An assessment of your book’s story and writing

What You Get: A critique that includes a deep read of your full manuscript plus feedback and recommendations in a comprehensive editorial report covering story, narrative technique, and writing; follow-up phone call or Skype

Who It’s For: Authors seeking a better sense of what parts of their story need additional revision, what kind of development and editing their books need, and whether their manuscripts are ready to query or self-publish; authors seeking an affordable alternative to developmental editing

How Much It Costs: $0.01 per word

Lisa Poisso, editorEDITING SERVICES

Your editing choices are designed to fit your publishing goals. Want to go deep? We’ll smooth out any remaining kinks in the story, then turn to the narrative techniques unique to fiction writing. Next, I’ll help you polish and improve the writing itself. Want to launch fast? We’ll ignite the process with an essential edit, covering the story and writing in a single compact step.

Developmental Editing

“I will always remember, Lisa told me I had a ‘manuscript-length discussion of theme’ . . . all the icing and decoration but no cake! I needed to crack some more eggs. She has a great sense of humour, too!”—J.C. Thomas

What It Is: Story-level editing in a unique incremental approach that gives you more opportunities for development, coaching, and revision

What You GetA manuscript edit designed to help you develop your story and tune your narrative technique (point of view, dialogue tags and beats, balance of scene vs. exposition, transitions and hooks, and so on); limited attention to language-level editing; plus feedback and recommendations in a comprehensive editorial report

Plus: How-to tools and support materials; optional initial critique step or additional manuscript editing rounds; two hours of follow-up consultation (email, phone, or Skype)

Who It’s For: Authors seeking an edit that focuses on story and narrative technique; any author who wants to learn more about the craft of storytelling

How Much It Costs: Starting at $0.04 (4 cents) per word


Substantive Editing

The Essential Edit

What It Is: Story and writing edits in a single, compact package

What You Get: Essential editing covering story and writing in two supercharged steps

“Having worked with other ‘editors,’ I found most to simply want to correct my often poor grammar or incorrect word choice, but Lisa also looks at the whole story, offering suggestions outside of the simple fixes.”—Troy Christensen

  1. A Plot Accelerator to tell you if your story’s firing on all cylinders (and to give things a kick start if not), followed by development time for author revision
  2. The essential manuscript edit: story editing to optimize your story power (issues requiring extensive revision or rewriting may need additional developmental work); substantive editing to tune your narrative technique (point of view, dialogue tags and beats, balance of scene vs. exposition, transitions and hooks, and so on); line editing to smooth and develop your writing; copyediting to address mechanical elements of your writing and style; plus feedback and recommendations in a comprehensive editorial report

Plus: How-to tools and support materials; two hours of follow-up consultation (email, phone, or Skype); deeply discounted rates for final polishing edits (dedicated line editing and copyediting)

Who It’s For: Authors who want a powerful edit covering both story and writing; authors seeking to produce a professional-quality manuscript on a limited production schedule or budget

How Much It Costs: Starting at $0.03 (3 cents) per word


Line Editing & Copyediting

“I learned so much during the process, and I am certain I’m a much better writer from having worked with her.”—Karen Cimms

What It Is: Paragraph- and sentence-level editing

What You Get: Manuscript editing that combines elements of line editing and copyediting; designed to polish your writing while strengthening your individual voice and style, including issues such as awkward sentence construction, wordiness, overwriting and underwriting, ambiguity, paragraphing, word choice, and language mechanics (grammar, spelling, punctuation); plus feedback and recommendations in a comprehensive editorial report

Plus: One hour of follow-up consultation (email, phone, or Skype)

Who It’s For: Authors seeking to produce a manuscript with professionally polished writing; authors who would like to develop their writing technique; authors seeking a final polishing edit after developmental or substantive editing

How Much It Costs: Starting at $0.018 (1.8 cents) per word


Lisa Poisso, editorCREATIVE COACHING

Lisa Poisso, Book CoachSometimes you need an outside eye while you’re still in the thick of the creative process. Creative coaching gives you the accountability and support you need to complete your book on your timetable and to your creative vision. Depending on your specific goals, we’ll consult via email, phone, or Skype to work through your manuscript sample by sample, chapter by chapter, or draft by draft.

What It Is: Regular, long-term coaching to help you write your manuscript on time and on target. Coaching helps you complete the circle: finish your first draft on deadline with a manuscript that doesn’t meander away from a coherent, cohesive creative vision. Creative coaching is not designed to teach basic writing and storytelling techniques, nor is it an extended editing service designed to edit your manuscript a few pages at a time.

“Now I can’t imagine working with another editor. . . . She provided me all the hours (of) writing coaching I needed in order to finish my book. I really felt I was being pushed in the right direction from start to finish.”—J.C. Thomas

What You Get: An initial orientation to define and personalize a plan to help you reach your writing goals; weekly, twice-monthly, or monthly feedback on your latest pages, with feedback designed to keep your story on track within a coherent, cohesive vision; regular accountability checks to keep you on track; support materials to ease you past rough spots; a monthly newsletter filled with writing, productivity, and creative lifestyle resources tailored to the current developmental stage of your manuscript; optional telephone or Skype consultations.

Who It’s For: Authors seeking support and direction throughout the novel writing process; authors seeking to develop their narrative and storytelling techniques and create compelling commercial fiction; authors who need regular accountability to help finish their manuscripts

How Much It Costs: $99 to $199 per month; please ask for a personalized quote based on your writing goals


Lisa Poisso, editorLET’S WORK TOGETHER

Lisa Poisso, Book Editor and Writing Coach

Before you hire me, we’ll go through an initial email consultation (including a sample edit) at no obligation to you. You’ll receive my recommendations for your book plus a plan of services designed for your needs and budget.

Once we begin working together, much of my focus will be on helping you master your craft. When something in your book isn’t working, I won’t just fix it. Instead, I’ll help you understand how and why to improve it yourself. You’ll finish your edit with a better book and a bigger toolbox of storytelling skills.

The support doesn’t stop once the words are on the page. A Query Accelerator shows you how to assemble a query and submission package with the professional polish it needs to woo agents and publishers. If you’re self-publishing, a Blurb Accelerator teaches you to write irresistible back cover and retail page copy. These services are available exclusively to established clients.

Still unsure? Read The Author’s Guide to Finding & Hiring an Editor

If you’d like to work together, let’s talk. We can begin a Plot Accelerator now to get your project moving forward quickly. Beyond that, it’s best to begin lining up a custom schedule right away, because my calendar usually fills three to six months in advance.

I'm Ready to Get Started

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. You rock. How can I help with your book? Here’s what I’d like to know about your manuscript. Email me at and let’s talk.