Ellen is a professional freelance editor with seven years of experience. She started editing full time in 2011 and began working shortly after as an editor with Musa Publishing where she was quickly promoted to head editor of Musa’s middle grade imprint. She left Musa in 2012 to freelance full time. Since then she has worked with about 150 writers per year as an editor, writing coach, and plot consultant.
Ellen's clients are represented at a number of agencies, including The Unter Agency, Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and Upstart Crow Literary. Her clients have published with Katherine Tegen Books, The Wild Rose Press, and many have launched successful self-publishing careers. Ellen has a bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on writing from the University of Cincinnati.
When she's not editing (which isn’t often!) Ellen enjoys cooking and tasting recipes from around the world, trying her hand at a variety of craft projects, and spending time with her husband and three-year-old poodle Toby.
- Adult: Horror and magical realism only
- Middle Grade: All genres
- YA: All genres
Things I’m likely to get excited about: ragtag groups, platonic friendships, realistic family dynamics, unique issues/struggles, ghosts, grungy settings, dark themes, flawed characters, plot twists, unreliable narrators, funny but deep narrators, angst that isn’t whiney.
Things I’m unlikely to get excited about: heavy romance (especially insta-love), portal fantasy, magic schools, vampires, soldiers/military, love triangles, dependent or inactive protagonists, chosen ones, religious themes, historical fiction (unless genre mash-up or unique take).
How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?
I want to see either a captivating conflict or an emotional hook (or both!). I also want to see a strong narrative voice or a strong character (or both!). Show me something I haven’t seen before: a unique setting, a dynamic character, an unusual problem.
What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?
I like to start by dissecting the story to determine what’s working and what could be strengthened, particularly with the characters, plot structure, marketability, and theme. I like having brainstorming sessions via email with the writers I mentor. I’m a very firm believer in scene craft and will recommend strengthening, rearranging, cutting, or adding scenes whenever it will strengthen the story.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
Having several hours of availability per week is necessary. If you aren’t sure you’ll have time for email discussions (real-time discussions aren’t necessary) and reworking scenes, then we probably aren’t a good match. I like to email frequently to touch base about where we’re at in the process so that you can make steady progress and we can have the manuscript polished to perfection by the due date.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
I love movies! I watch about three to five movies per week. I also love crafts. Every year my husband and I create a huge Halloween display for the neighborhood with homemade ghosts, monsters, props, and costumes. We start work on our display in June (and then collapse from exhaustion on November 1st!).
What was your favorite childhood book and what did you love about it?
Growing up, my favorite book was Anne of Green Gables. I related so much to the skinny, imaginative, red-haired, kind-of-a-handful Anne. It was also one of the first books I read that had emotional depth and subtlety. It wasn’t just a silly adventure with happy children like a lot of the books I had read earlier in my childhood. Anne and Matthew and Marilla were real people to me. I believed in them. I still look for characters I can believe in when I read today.