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2024 Annual Contest Editor ✓
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Raquel Brown is a UChicago-trained editor and story coach for fantastic, eccentric, and enchanting fiction. She loves teaming up with writers who value the craft of storytelling and who seek to light a fire within their readers. She also edits for indie and Big Five publishers, and is part of the copyediting team for an award-winning SFF magazine.

She specializes in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and romance for adult and young adult readers. This means she gets way too excited about untangling plot threads, character relationships, and worldbuilding.

Raquel serves on the board of directors for the San Diego Professional Editors Network, and is a member of several editing organizations, including the EFA and ACES. Before shifting to full-time fiction editing, she spent years in technical writing/editing, and has a degree in environmental science.

When she’s not busy with a book, you can find her cooking, hiking, or playing video games.

Pronouns: She/They


Take me to another world! And if you have questions, let me know. I’m super excited to work with adult and young adult stories in the following genres:

  • Sci-Fi — Give me mechs, first contact, AI, steampunk, stories featuring non-earthlings as main characters. Droid as a best friend. Reevaluating xenobiology—and what does it mean to be human? Send me a mashup sci-fi, a mystery on another planet. It might be a long shot, but I’d love to see some cozy or romantic elements mixed in. (Cozy alien invasion?)
  • Horror — Send me to the Pit! I want paranormal, cosmic horror, folk horror, religious horror, psychological horror, contemporary, gothic horror, classic monster mashes or classic horror remixes. Communication with the dead, caves/labyrinths, dark forests, dripping teeth, recognizing the beast inside yourself. Send me your ghosts and haunted houses and dread.
  • Fantasy — Send me stories with fallen knights, vampires, fae, paladins, dragons, witchcraft! Send me an isekai, or grimdark, or your take on a classic sword and sorcery story! I love low fantasy and high fantasy equally, and I hold no grudges against a chonky book—we’ll get that word count where it needs to be. Mash up fantasy with another genre… and please let me see some Romantasy!!
  • Historical Romance — Aside from historical romance that brings a fresh perspective to the classical happy ever after, I would love to see pre-1900s love stories featuring cultures or characters that we don’t regularly see in US publishing. Send me anything during the Middle Ages time period (taking place worldwide). And if anyone has a historical pirate romance, please send this to me.

I love epistolary novels, unreliable narrators, and genre mashups. I enjoy getting grabbed by serious stories where we meet a character on the worst day of their life—but I also have a ton of fun with highly unserious mashups that turn tropes on their head! Super big fan of expanded speculative cultures and religious institutions (bonus points if we're a god—or planning to kill one). I think there's a little room for romance within any story, and I really enjoy a pair of best friends. (Also betrayal!)

I am pickier about…

  • Splatterpunk/Body horror (let’s see some scares but not just horror for shock value)
  • Contemporary zombie novels
  • Contemporary Fantasy
  • Magical schools
  • Retellings (e.g., fairy tale or mythology remixes)
  • Word counts more than 50K above genre recommendations

I’m not planning to take on…

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Contemporary Thrillers/Suspense
  • Stories with more than 3 POVs
  • Stories with terminal illnesses

How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?

A storytelling voice full of personality that makes it clear I’m not just receiving information; I’ve now been sucked into this world and we’re dealing with the fallout. I want to see a clear connection to the immediate circumstances and feel connected to the character’s plight—whether that’s overthrowing the High King, falling in love, or heading back from a bakery in the rain (all equally difficult tasks, especially without an umbrella). Atmosphere and heart are what hook me in. If there’s worry or hope or happiness or spookiness, I want to feel this right off the bat.

What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?

I am here to be on your team to get the story where you want it to go! I prefer to give coaching-style feedback customized to your unique writing style and approach—everyone’s creativity is different. I view developmental editing as a conversational, interactive process.

I send over a questionnaire, and we can chat via email for a bit so that I can get a strong sense of your goals before jumping into my side of the edits. Then, after sending over a high-level feedback letter, I love to take the opportunity to have a Zoom or phone chat to go through the recommendations and see how you’re feeling about the revision plan. If you need accountability, additional guidance, or want more feedback as you’re revising, I’m here to provide that support. But if you’re very independent and only want guidance at certain intervals, I’m happy to be more hands off. I’m usually very speedy when it comes to responding to emails, and when we’re in Hustle Mode, I aim to respond to any questions within a day.

What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?

I would love to work with writers who are raring to go and prepared to put the work in to revise their manuscripts. I realize authors may not always know what they need when they’re revising, but being open to the feedback process and excited about working on the book makes a huge difference (and makes it easier for me to help). I would hope that the writers would have a sense of their goals, both for the manuscript and writing in general—where do you want your story to go, and how do you want to affect readers?

I aim to give my authors 110%, so I would expect to also see that same level of dedication to the process (in whatever form that takes for them).

What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?

I really enjoy cooking, video games, wildlife, and being outside! If I’m not reading a traditional novel, I also like choose-your-own-path stories/games and manga. I’m super happy when I get to curl up with a horror movie, even when it means I’ll be keeping all the lights on. And I’m never too far away from my Kindle.

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