Virginia was recommended to me by a friend whose manuscript, with Virginia’s invaluable assistance, has since been accepted for publication by Pan Macmillan. It was terrifying, handing over the first complete draft of my first book to a professional editor – but it was the best thing I could’ve done. The book was a cross between a biography and a memoir, based on many hours of recorded conversation and written mainly in the voice of the person whose life the book is about. Virginia quickly grasped what I and the protagonist were trying to achieve, and her searching questions and frank feedback were just what I needed to tighten the book’s focus and cut out irrelevant material. It’s tough, but learning to let go of those passages that you’ve lovingly laboured over, but that just don’t work, is an incredibly important lesson. Once I’d made the changes Virginia suggested, I began to believe I had the makings of a story worth telling – and worth reading. She then undertook detailed structural editing of the manuscript – something I was incapable of at that stage, having been immersed in the writing for the previous year. The result was far, far better than I could possibly have achieved alone. I’m forever grateful to Virginia for her input and would be honoured to work with her again.
Sally Rynveld, co-author, A Good Life: the story of Guy Winship and Good Return (Ginanderra Press, 2018)
Writing and publishing a first novel is a long, solitary task. I was grappling with my manuscript in its (close to) final draft stage and knew I needed extra support to push it over the finish line. A writer friend of mine recommended I contact Virginia for a manuscript appraisal. In our first phone call Virginia quickly understood what I was trying to achieve, and with a few questions she cut to the heart of the novel. Together we discussed issues with structure and narrative that might need to be addressed. Virginia promptly delivered an extensive chapter-by-chapter report detailing the strengths of the manuscript, noting flabby sections that could be cut, homing in on inconsistencies in the narrative, and highlighting any problems with characterisation. The report was honest, thoughtful and professional, and pushed my writing and the story to another level. The manuscript is far better for her contribution and is now ready to be sent out into the world.
Janine Mikosza
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