Perhaps English has never been your strong suit. If so, you have lots of company.
There’s no shame in that.
- None of us will ever have perfect skills in every aspect of our lives. Some of us are better at English, some at science, some at commerce, some in the arts.
- You aren’t responsible for the education you didn’t get. Every year, teaching of English grammar and composition in schools dwindles.
Whether or not you are friendly with the written word, you may have many reasons for struggling with it:
- the demands of your business leave no time to research and write that e-newsletter or blog post for your subscribers;
- you need a fresh set of eyes to review your marketing materials for spelling, grammar, consistency, clarity, and composition;
- you’re not strong in English, so you need help to develop concise content for your website, brochures, reports, and newsletters to promote your products and services;
- your white paper needs fact-checking;
- you can’t see the forest – your whole manuscript – for the trees – issues that keep dodging your own scrutiny – so it’s time to hand it over to a beta reader;
- your book needs editing and proofreading before you release it to the world.
The rest of the world may support or dismiss the value of good English composition, but you don’t have to adhere to what it considers “good enough.” You can establish a higher standard; you can lead by example. Consciously or not, readers will notice your clear, concise communication. They will recognize your voice as one of confidence and authority.
Your message is important, so you want to communicate it to the world clearly and powerfully. You are equally passionate to make it the best it can be. You don’t want to short-change your story, you want to respect it and your audience, and you want your commitment to your work to shine with your integrity. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MAKING YOUR WORK THE BEST IT CAN BE
No writing or editing service will ever eliminate all errors, but a professional with a life-long joy in working with words can capture most of them. A professionally edited piece enables your readers to remain absorbed in your work, with so few errors that their concentration won’t be broken.
Learning and understanding the English language has become ever more difficult for those for whom English is not their native language. English has enough irregularities without us mussing it up more with poor usage.
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. As an ambitious eight-year-old, I ruthlessly plagiarized favorite horse stories. (Some of these voluminous, scribbled works currently collect dust in the attic.) Since those days of inspired, innocent, literary pillage, my work has improved in quality and originality.
I dabbled for decades with a novel about the prickly relationship between a Civil War reenactor and a museum employee. It didn’t see print until my fellow author and WWII veteran Paul Wankowicz signed a two-for-one self-publishing contract. He said that his next story would be one of the two and mine would be the other; otherwise, I’d never finish it. He was right. Bead of Sand finally saw the light of day in 2013.
With Bead of Sand fledged, the characters from an earlier, incomplete story came to me in a dream, begging me not to forget them. There was no arguing with them, so I resurrected the manuscript. The Sturgeon’s Dance (2018), set in rural Maine in the 1980s, is an emotionally turbulent tale of two psychically linked characters who never meet until Rory is hired as a consultant in Josie’s office. Their paths become ever more entwined as they seek to understand the metaphysical forces binding them together.
Groundwork is underway for a non-fiction book about police families surviving line-of-duty deaths – Beyond End of Watch.
Other writing, some of it published, includes poems, ballads, short stories, profiles, blog posts, an illustrated children’s book, and a hiking guide. Reports, essays, and articles with their attendant research comprise my professional writing portfolio, as well as advertising copy, website content, and brochures. Research for an historical novel about cadet life in the US Naval Academy during the Civil War is intermittent.
I’ve edited three novels and a book of poetry, and enjoy beta-reading the work of other writers. I’m currently an active member of The Room to Write’s writers’ critique group.
Credentials – Writing
- Bead of Sand, a novel (2013)
- The Sturgeon’s Dance, a novel (2018)
- Hiking Guide to the Gouldsboro Hills (unpublished)
- Kiwi – a children’s book, illustrated (unpublished)
- The Flag on the Great Man’s Breast (2008)
- Ode to the Old Apple Tree
- The Shipyard
- Kennebec Dawn
- Old Man of Muscongus
- The Ice Whale
- Battle Line at Bagaduce
- For the German Farmers at Bennington
- The Revolution Revisited
- Retired Fifer Resurfaces at Menotomy’s Midwinter Madness
American History Articles
- Carl Schurz: The Making of an American
- Lincoln’s Second Inauguration
- Lincoln and Hamlin
- Setting Up The 18th Century Camp Kitchen
- McCobb’s Militia: A Brief Unit History of the American Revolution
- Maine Men in the War for Independence
- An Independent Study of the American Revolution: Benedict Arnold’s Expedition to Quebec, in six parts
- Lincoln’s Pioneering Gene: Abraham Lincoln’s Ancestors
- A History of the Friendship Sloop
- Pemaquid: A Mercenary Venture
- Grandma’s Good Old Lye Soap
- Archaeological Finds in Peat Bogs
Brochures and Flyers
- Women of Distinction: Mary Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Dolley Madison
- Queen Victoria: Defining the 19th Century
- The Musick of Prescott’s Battalion Fife & Drum Corps
- Lincoln For The Ages
- Become a Living Historian
- The Presidential Entourage of Abraham Lincoln, Inc.
- A Brief History of the Penobscot Expedition of 1779
Speeches and Tour Scripts
- Lincoln’s Remarks on the role of the US Flag during the Civil War
- Washington DC’s Best Tour Guide: A Fable
- Tour Scripts: 8 DC Sites by Bus
- Tour Scripts: 10 DC Tours on Foot
- Tour Script: A Civil War Tour of Washington City with Abraham Lincoln
Professional Reports and Studies
- Comprehensive Plan, Town of Arrowsic, Maine
- Topsham [Maine] Comprehensive Plan
- Report on Woolwich Public Opinion Questionnaire
- Georgetown [Maine] Community Opinion Survey: Tabulation and Analysis
- Economic Feasibility of “Value-Added” Peat Production in Maine
- Comprehensive Planning Report, Robbinston, Washington County, Maine
- Bremen [Maine] Natural Resources Inventory
- Arrowsic [Maine] Public Access Study
- Cherryfield [Maine] Comprehensive Plan – A Guide For Growth
- 208 Water Quality Management Plan, Washington County Regional Planning Commission, Maine
- Problems of Public Access
- Land Use Element of the Regional Comprehensive Plan, Machias, Maine
- Maine Peat Moss Study
- Rural Subdivisions in Hancock County [Maine]
- Experiential Accounts and Natural Resource Assessments of Maine’s Wildlands
Credentials – Editing
- Dakota Flight – a novel by Paul Wankowicz, (2014)
- Come, Walk With Me, My Friend – poetry by Corinne Faulkner (2012)
- Ulysses Flight– a novel by Paul Wankowicz, (2010) (one of several editors)
- Mirror War – a novel by Paul Wankowicz, (still in editing process)
- Bead of Sand – a novel by Sally M. Chetwynd (2013)
- The Sturgeon’s Dance – a novel by Sally M. Chetwynd (2018)
- “Primary vs. Secondary Research” by “Donovan” for Pearl Smith, for senior newsletter
- “Rangin’ Through History” by James Littlefield, for Early American Life (Dec. 2015)