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2021 Annual Contest Editor ✓
2020 Annual Contest Editor ✓
Mini-Event Editor ✓
Miranda Darrow is 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 writer and voracious reader who has turned her passion for books into a career helping authors develop the intricate facets of their stories.
After graduating with a degree in English and then a law degree, she became a practicing attorney, but never lost the urge to read and write fiction. Taking an in-house counsel position over a decade ago allowed her the time to develop her writing and editing skills. She’s a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the Professional Editors Network, and a frequent presenter to writing groups. Her logic skills honed as an attorney are an asset in detecting and remedying timeline issues, plot inconsistencies, as well as pacing and story arc concerns.
For #RevPit 2021, I’m expanding my MSWL from last year to include Middle Grades and mysteries, as well as women’s fiction, romance, and some speculative fiction (YA and adult for all).
- Send me character-driven women’s fiction with proactive women going after their goals while juggling all of the things.
- For mysteries, I love cozy mystery and thrillers (as long as it isn’t a helpless woman in peril – give me that unreliable narrator instead).
- In speculative fiction, I’m accepting dystopian (yes, even during a pandemic), time travel, and lighter sci-fi (no space opera, military sci-fi, or horror).
- For fantasy, I’m picky this year and would rather not see the “chosen one.” I’m here for imperfect characters with a strong growth arc and would rather see collaboration than hero’s journey. I’ll be a tough sell on magical schools or magical beasts (so probably not dragons unless they’re alien dragons, in which case, bring it on).
- I’m accepting most romance subgenres (contemporary, rom-com, paranormal, romantic suspense), but I’m not the best fit for historical (earlier than the 1960s), inspirational, or erotic romance.
- Please pass the Bechdel test and give me women who talk to each other about more than just men they want to date.
- Also, I love big books and I cannot lie, but we won’t have time to revise a work with more than 120,000 words during the timeframe for this contest.
Loves: forced proximity, teamwork / Heroine’s Journey stories, reality tv, road trips, stories from small towns and flyover land as well as unfamiliar settings, marshmallows and cinnamon rolls (characters and food).
Not looking for: horror, non-fiction, historical pre-1960s, 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 in & show your main character facing challenges in a clearly defined universe. A main character with agency, making choices to obtain their goal, even if those choices are bad and lead to disaster. No floaters in this pool, only swimmers. Authors who recognize this quote for one of my favorite reality tv shows get bonus points.
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 during the selection process I envision larger structural changes, I’ll inquire as to your openness to material changes and availability for revisions during the limited revision period. True confession: I’m not your best source for sugar-coating. Consider me if you’re ready to accept direct feedback on your story and are ready and willing to tackle revisions with enthusiasm.
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 take another round of developmental edits, time permitting. I love reading almost everything, 150-200+ books each year, so if you need a comp title, I might have ideas.
I expect to have my manuscript evaluation assessment letter ready to send to my winner the day winners are announced, so be ready to hit the ground running if you submit to me.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
I’m a high energy person and want my chosen author to be 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 our efforts should be focused on the work with story goals in mind. I’m clearing time in my 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.
I also have a quirky sense of humor and look for the bright side of things, so expect every communication from me to have some positive feedback and some banter as we get to know each other. After we talk about next steps and revisions, tell me about your favorite new show, movie, music, books. I’d love to find some new object for my nerdy obsessions.
Email is the best way to reach me, and I’ll try to get back within a day with answers to questions. After winners are announced, we can jump on Zoom video chat to get on the same page for the timeline for your edits and my 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 10 p.m.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
Writing and reading are my main “recreational activities.” I run two monthly critique groups in Minnesota, one romance and women’s fiction focused and the other is part of the MinnSpec speculative fiction writers’ group. I’m also in more book clubs than I care to count, in person and online.
As a result of staying at home for COVID, I’ve also resurrected an old hobby: crochet. I have a bookish Etsy store SpunAYarnCrochet, where I offer scarfs, afghans, and other items that pair well with favorite novels and WIPs. I also take custom crochet orders through my editing website.
In my free time, I watch reality shows with my sons: Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother, Lego Masters, Supermarket Sweep, and our latest favorite, The Hustler.
What was your favorite show to binge watch in the last year?
I’ve streamed a ton of shows in the past year, but none on Netflix because we don’t have that, thanks to my husband’s one-family protest, now in its tenth year (ever since they split their streaming and mail-order services in 2011). The shows I binged the hardest were dystopias, including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Man in the High Castle, The Last Ship, and The Wilds—which kept me up all night on a work night.