Expert Editing, Dynamic Writing

Even the smartest people can have trouble putting themselves onto paper. You need an expert on your side.

I’m Mary DeDanan, a professional editor and writer with decades of experience. I offer many rich practical skills.

I approach editing as the gentle art of invisible improvement. My aim is a final draft that’s clear, concise, correct, and interesting — and that preserves your voice and concepts. My style of editing is flexible, so I can work with writers of all kinds: creative, academic, commercial, and nonprofit.

I write too. I develop fresh, clear, and honest copy, often with a touch of humor.

Novels, dissertations, brochures. No matter what your project, make sure your words will speak well of you … because quality tells.

Email me for a free consultation.

Who Am I?

I’ve worked as a freelance editor and proofreader with several major publishing houses and small magazines since the mid-'80s. I’ve also been in the writing trenches as a journalist, critic, literary manager in equity theaters, and copywriter. I’ve published well over a hundred articles, essays, reviews, and award-winning short fiction.

My knowledge and experience mean you get the benefit of a full palette of word-smithing techniques.

I aim to help you find your own natural voice. It’s like a one-on-one writing seminar with your manuscript as the only project on the table.


Line and copy edits are appropriate for every style of manuscript. In a line edit I tighten and trim prose, clarify meaning, maintain internal consistency, cast out clichés, rein in jargon, and find alternatives for overused words. With a copy edit I correct grammar, syntax, usage, spelling, and punctuation, as well as formatting problems. Most often line and copy edits work together to make your words spark and sparkle.

In a developmental edit, I analyze what’s working and what’s not, then suggest ways to restructure your material. I’ll show you how to balance your intentions with the needs of your readers, and repair the gaps. A developmental edit fixes the big picture. Naturally, that means something quite different in a novel than a dissertation.

What level of editing is right for your project? Many manuscripts need the full monty: developmental, line, and copy editing. A few texts are beautifully styled line by line, but meander off track; these might call for a developmental edit only, with a final polish. Some documents are already well-structured and read clearly, and simply need a copy clean up.

When you work with me, you get the “just right” edit you need, for the same low hourly rate. You don’t pay extra for different types of editing. See more on my editorial options here.

Writing Coach

Whatever you’re working on, your writing process can be enjoyable (or at least survivable). I can help you turn a morass of raw ideas into succinct, convincing prose, while developing your own voice. Let’s strategize to manage procrastination, move past blocks and avoidance, and rewire your habits. Maybe you need someone to set deadlines for you, and really mean it. Perhaps you need compassionate support and direction. Whatever it takes, together we’ll bring out your best and see your writing projects through to completion.