Bio

Ellen is a professional freelance editor with nearly six 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 two-year-old poodle Toby.

What kind of entries are you looking for in this contest?

I will only be taking middle grade and chapter book submissions for this contest. While I love working with every age group and genre, middle grade is my specialty and true love. I’m open to any middle grade or chapter book genre from contemporary to horror to fantasy. Strong characterization is important to me, but I also want to see a plot that will surprise me with new ideas or a fresh perspective.

What is your background in editing?

I am a professional freelance editor with almost six years of experience. I started editing full time in 2011 and began working shortly after as an editor with Musa Publishing where I was quickly promoted to head editor of Musa’s middle grade imprint. I left Musa in 2012 to freelance full time. Since then I have worked with about 150 writers per year as an editor, writing coach, and plot consultant.

I also host Novel Boot Camp, a writing workshop that has a couple hundred participants per year, and I run a fairly successful YouTube channel where I give advice and host novel writing Q&A sessions.

What can writers expect from working with you during the contest?

I want to teach you to be a stronger writer. I want you to understand why I’m suggesting changes so that you can grow your understanding of what makes a novel work. Most of our work together will be looking at the big picture issues (characterization, pacing, plotting, structure, voice).

What do you expect from writers during the contest revision process?

I really only ask that you put in the time necessary to improve the story. Please don’t take an opportunity away from another writer if you won’t have time to make changes during the contest. It’s also important that you be open to making potentially big changes to the story in order to make it more marketable and appealing to agents.

What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?

I really enjoy crafting. My husband and I create a huge Halloween display for local trick-or-treaters so I almost always have a skeleton or ghost under construction in my attic. I’m also a huge movie buff and watch movies way more than anyone probably should.

What three books would you save in a dystopian future where libraries are banned?

This is such a hard question! Harry Potter will always have a special place in my heart because I grew up with the books. Can I count the boxed set as one book? House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is so rich and complex that I could get a kick out of studying it for years. Lastly, I think The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because it’s beautifully conceived and executed.

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