freelance editor


In my twenty-plus years as an editor, I've developed two guiding principles: maintain the author's voice and focus on one task at a time....

My strength is line and substantive editing — that is, tending to content, structure, and the flow of words while keeping an eye on grammar, syntax, and consistency. Initially I edited shorter articles, but nowadays I focus on reports and books, primarily nonfiction, though I enjoy memoir and fiction tremendously.

My experience ranges from an encyclopedia on New York State to a scientific journal on European wildlife, from policy publications on the former Soviet republics and China to a bilingual art catalog and a murder mystery and a book on international diplomacy.

The style guide I use most often is Chicago, though I also work with Oxford, Cambridge, and Blue Book as needed. Dictionary of choice is Webster's Collegiate. My bookshelves are also home to a variety of grammar, usage, and style books, the pages of all of which are well turned. The two from which I have learned the most, however, are Joseph Williams's Style and Editor to Author: The Letters of Maxwell E. Perkins.

View Helen Glenn Court's resume

who: Helen Glenn Court  
what: freelance manuscript editor
why: I love it
when: since 1990
where: anywhere and everywhere
how: electronic

Your editing is excellent and the text is much, much improved as a result. It is also highly respectful…. [We] have had numerous editing experiences, together and separately, that were not so, and so we are especially grateful.

I trust her ability, knowledge, and taste. She corrects my diction, grammar, and spelling, but the final product looks like mine, not hers.

I was always amazed at her ability to take any article and improve both its style and logical consistency.

Your editing and firm hand against hyperbole have given the book a needed professional polish.

The book looks great and reads well. Very powerful piece! My compliments to you for engineering this.