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2024 Annual Contest Editor ✓
2023 Annual Contest Editor ✓
2022 Annual Contest Editor ✓
2021 Annual Contest Editor ✓
2020 Annual Contest Editor ✓
Mini-Event Editor ✓
Miranda Darrow’s a freelance editor, #RevPit board member, and story sleuth who digs deep into your manuscript to uncover the best version of your story. She’s a frequent presenter to writing groups, a writer, and a voracious reader who has turned her passion for books into a career helping authors develop the intricate facets of their stories.
For RevPit's 2024 Annual Contest, I’m leaning more heavily into adult age category, accepting everything adult except horror. I'm somewhat more selective for YA and MG age categories. I'm accepting mysteries, historical, contemporary, and science fiction for all age categories, as I can't seem to get enough of them, but I'm more restricted with other genres. I'm making this restriction largely to control how many submissions I get, but I do work with pretty much all genres in YA and MG too. If you are familiar with my editing style, are ready to get to work dismantling and reassembling your manuscript's structure, and think that we'd be a great fit, I'll take a look at everything directed my way.
For mystery, I love suspense, amateur sleuths who don't know what they're doing but know they need to figure it out and quick because there's a killer out there, not knowing who they can trust, not being believed, all that catnip. I love closed-room suspense in a claustrophobic setting, characters on the run surviving on their wits and duct-taping their way through it, as well as someone trying to live their ordinary life, acting like everything is normal until they can't keep up that façade any longer.
For science fiction I love generational spaceships, new worlds possibly with extraterrestrial life, or folks on earth with scientists tackling problems but with conflict and moral ambiguity.
For historical novels, show me a time and place that hasn't been explored as much as others, teach me something new and true while pulling me in with your stellar characters engaged in conflict and drama.
Women's fiction/contemporary novels about family drama and found families, adult siblings dealing with aging parents or hashing out an estate, parents trying to help their kids but talking past each other, tough choices, and the juggling act of work-life balance.
Love: road trips (including the intergalactic variety), tricky family dynamics, immersive settings, and quirky characters. Romance (as a genre or subplot) is welcome but not required.
Not looking for: revenge stories, horror, overtly political content, non-fiction, or anything over 120,000 words.
I’m always open to diverse stories, including #OwnVoices, BIPOC, LBGTQA+, and disability representation.
How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?
Jump right into the story and let us get to know your main character and their goal starting on page one with how your protagonist is going through life and its challenges. I’m looking for a strong sense of identity for your protagonist and a clearly defined universe, not a story set in Anywhere, USA. Make sure your character has agency, meaning they are making choices to try to obtain their goal, even if those choices are bad and lead to disaster.
What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?
My goal is for the story on the page to reflect the story vision the author carries, with the most impactful scenes and conflicts making it onto the pages. If you submit to me, be advised that this may include larger structural changes, so please list any deal-breakers that you wouldn't entertain. Note - I would never ask an author to change the identity of their main character. My recommended changes would be plot-based, possibly reducing the number of characters, but not changing who they are. See my testimonials on my websites from my past winners if you'd like more insights into my process.
I’ll start with an in-depth assessment of developmental editing recommendations, which we can discuss after you read and review my assessment. Together, we’ll develop a plan for your revisions, which you’ll work on and send back to me. Depending on the timing and state of the manuscript after these revisions, we may have time to take another round of developmental edits. Email is the best way to reach me, and I’ll try to get back within a day with answers to questions, and will communicate my timelines for editing feedback once I receive your revisions. I’m not a night owl, so you’re more likely to catch me at 6 a.m. than you are at 9 p.m.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
First, I want someone open to large-scale structural changes in their manuscript. For RevPit, I enjoy the challenge of tinkering with a story to rebuild it into something stronger, and I want authors willing to be open to that process.
Also, I’m a high-energy person and want my chosen author to be even more excited to jump in and work on revisions so we can tease out the very best version of your story. I want passion paired with professionalism, as I want our efforts focused on the work with story goals in mind. I’m clearing time in my hectic schedule for this, and I expect the same from my author so we can be focused and driven with the goal of the best possible manuscript and query letter in the short time we’ll have as part of the program.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
I enjoy reading (I'm a super-reader, over 100 books/year), crochet, and attending my kids' sports, band, robotics, and other events. We also like camping and boating in the summers.