Every writer needs an editor: a reader they can trust without hesitation; an exacting task-master; a shoulder to lean on; a loyal partner in crime. I’d like to think I’m all of those things to my writers. There is nothing quite like the editor-author relationship. As one novelist I worked with wrote in his acknowledgements: “…chatting with her was like conversing with a different part of myself.” The terrain we travel together is at times difficult, but it is always beautiful, surprising, and intimate — one of the great privileges of my life.
As a seasoned developmental editor, I work closely and collaboratively with authors of memoir, fiction, and narrative nonfiction, focusing on everything from the big picture stuff of character development and theme to the nitty gritty of logic, structure, syntax, and transitions. I edit full manuscripts as well as stand-alone essays, magazine pieces, and manuscripts in progress. My clients’ shorter work has gone on to appear in publications such as Harper’s, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, and Longreads, helping some of them to land major book deals. Their books have been published by such presses as Knopf, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House, and Little A.
As a writer myself, I know just how immensely exciting, difficult and gut-wrenching making a book can be. I will handle your book with the utmost care, and see editing as an intimate conversation between editor and writer. But I am also rigorous, devoted to making sure your book reaches its fullest potential.
To establish if we’re a good editorial duo, I’ll read an excerpt of your manuscript and we’ll talk to get a sense of what kind of editorial guidance you’re looking for and what might best benefit your manuscript. I offer three different levels of developmental editing, detailed at the bottom of this page. Below are a few testimonies from authors I've had the privilege to work with.
If you have a manuscript you’d like me to take a look at, drop me a line here. I’d love to connect.
Author of the forthcoming The Performance of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s Quest to Cure Deafness (Simon & Schuster)
"SIMONE GORRINDO IS ONE OF THE BEST EDITORS I'VE EVER WORKED WITH—THE TYPE OF EDITOR WHO LEFT ME A BETTER WRITER THAN SHE FOUND ME.
Early in our work together, I was relieved by her honesty, not only because her critiques were delivered gently but because I could tell that what she was saying was absolutely true. She honed right in on the places I hoped were invisible: where an idea wasn’t full or a sentence lyrical but empty. With a patient and persistent attention, she helped me to find language that was more precise and ideas that were more complex and closer to the truth. She worked diligently, with a keen eye for language and an utter devotion to clarity. Later, when I worked beside her as an editor, her attention to language was always the ideal to which I aspired. And I was constantly humbled by the way she found things I’d missed—anything from unnecessary sentences to stray commas. She works in such a way that seems effortless, but which I am sure is full of focus and care and commitment. She’s the type of editor who understands how close writing is to an author, the type of editor you can trust not to hurry with your work, but to give it everything she has."
Author of The Girls from Corona Del Mar and Dear Fang, With Love (Knopf)
"SIMONE GORRINDO IS MY FIRST READER FOR MY OWN WRITING, AND AT THIS POINT I COULD NOT DO WITHOUT HER.
She has an elegant and nuanced editorial eye and her suggestions for changes are always native to the work in a way that stuns me, because she is so able to meet the work on its own terms, to understand what I was trying to say and could not say. Her own writing is lush and understated, an intricate mesh of ideas that become emotions and emotions that become ideas. As a teacher she is unflappable and tender, insightful and clear, a kind of dogged saint of writing. I am her biggest fan."
LESLIE KENDALL DYE
"SIMONE GORRINDO IS—SIMPLY PUT—THE BEST EDITOR I HAVE EVER WORKED WITH: BRILLIANT, COMPASSIONATE, SCRUPULOUS AND DETAIL-DRIVEN.
She has an uncanny ability to rapidly digest the point of a piece of literary work and then tell you how to fix whatever is broken. Sometimes, she will demand that you fix it yourself, when she intuitively senses that only you, the writer, can address a hole or broken bridge in your work. But she is relentless and perfectionist; she will treat your writing as though it is a newborn baby with all its attendant needs. The metaphor doubly applies because she has an enormous heart: for all the putting you through your paces, all the questions she raises, she does so with so much care that you barely notice how hard you are working. She wants the essence of your work to come through and she will not let it be bogged down by timeline problems, redundancies, hyperbole, distracting clauses, mixed metaphors, or comma splices. If Simone is editing your work she is also a friend. You just know she cares. She will shape that essay and then she will say she really did nothing at all—just a few notes here and there. She also listens: if you disagree with a note, she wants to have a conversation about it, because she wants to make sure she is getting at what you want to say. She might push back or she might not; she might relent, and then tell you how you have to fix things if you want to hold onto that original sentence. Simone is—like all real artists—obsessive, but in the best way: she will make the finest piece of your writing that it can be. I owe a tremendous amount to Simone; she edited two of my pieces for a literary magazine and much of the praise the pieces received properly belonged at her doorstep."
Author of Homing Instincts: Early Motherhood on a Midwestern Farm (Pantheon)
"SIMONE GORRINDO IS THE MOST TALENTED AND DEVOTED EDITOR I'VE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO WORK WITH.
It is increasingly rare nowadays to find editors who will take the time to go deep with your work, considering it sentence by sentence, idea by idea, patiently questioning the places where it gets fuzzy or weak and really trying to build it into its best iteration. I've worked with editors at many different newspapers and magazines and she is a throwback to the glory days of editing, when a piece was a collaboration of minds and writers were elevated by their editors. My writing has grown so much from her experience, and I find myself now reading my own work with an eye towards the tendencies she has pointed out. Essays of mine she has edited have gone on to become parts of books and win awards, and never would have done so had she not devoted so much of her time and energy."
A comprehensive editorial letter (usually 5-10 pages, single-spaced, for a full manuscript) covering all the elements of craft that comprise the architecture of your book: characters, plot, point of view, etc. The letter will locate issues and provide nuts and bolts advice on how to fix them. This is also known as a manuscript assessment or critique.
Includes an editorial letter as well as a marked up manuscript that gives specific in-text suggestions on how to implement the proposed revisions.
Includes level 1 and 2 editorial services, plus a detailed line edit that address sentence structure, word choice, repetition, and flow.