Editorial Services

Everyone has a story to tell. How will you tell yours?

Whether you’re writing a novel or a memoir, flash fiction or an academic article, you want your audience to see your story’s heart and hear the power of its truths. 

I can help you reach those goals. As an editor, I’m an enthusiastic puzzle solver. I’ll start with your strengths, your vision and your voice. From there, I’ll help you refine your work, with specific, tailored feedback and suggestions for improvement.

With a PhD in English, years of teaching writing, and a list of published works, I’ll bring my knowledge and experience to all stages of your project, from initial development to a final polish.

You have a story worth telling. Let’s make that story sing. 


Developmental Edit

In a developmental edit, I assess what's working and not working in terms of both content and structure. This approach looks at the big picture and how the pieces fit together. For fiction, it means assessing elements like pacing, character development and stakes, plot lines, setting, dialogue, imagery and overall clarity. For nonfiction and academic work, I take a similar approach but with a focus on the structure and clarity of your narrative or argument.

In any developmental edit, I provide detailed feedback in an editorial letter, along with targeted comments in the manuscript to illustrate my suggestions.

Editorial Assessment

An editorial assessment is a good place to start if you are looking for more general feedback on your manuscript, similar to the responses of a writer's group or critique partner.
After a careful reading, I will provide you with an editorial letter that highlights your manuscript's strengths and weaknesses, along with strategies for revision. Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective!

Line Edits and Copy Edits

In a line edit, I look at the clarity and flow of your writing on the level of paragraphs, transitions, and individual sentences. I'll identify any inconsistencies, gaps or repetitions and make suggestions for improving sentence structure, paragraph structure, phrasing and word choices.

My copy editing focuses more on the technical aspects of writing, including grammar and mechanics.

Lisa Ahn’s writing skills and grasp of the English language are unmatched. She has a keen eye for details, which extends to her ability to edit and hone in on language in an exacting fashion. I saw it in the work that she did with our shared students. I also see it in her own writing, which is breathtakingly beautiful. On top of that, she has a full and rich understanding of the human condition; as a result, she interacts with others with an open mind, empathy, and kindness. Working with her is a pleasure because she takes time to know you, which informs the work she does. I highly recommend her

Jessica Devin

Lisa Ahn was a former colleague with me while she and her family lived at Cushing Academy. As a published author I invited her to come into my summer seminar as a guest speaker. For one six-hour day she shared her experiences to my intense English class; how to address writer’s block, creative writing, to improve upon your skill set, and most importantly how to have faith and confidence in yourself. While she was only there for a few hours she established relationships that have lasted for several years. It’s impossible to quantify her ability to reach people, to empathize with the creative spirit and share her mastery of language. If you’ve never read her work you’re missing one of the most unique styles I have ever come across. Her whimsy, magical realism and sense of place catapults the reader into another world. Her ability to empower young people is essential in today’s educational environment; her friendship with writing and language is a collaborative love affair that you will rarely find. To have the opportunity to utilize her multiple skill sets in any capacity is a gift. I recommend her wholeheartedly and without hesitation for any position that involves, writing, editing and the elevation of language.

Julia Ohm
Performing Arts Chair and English Teacher

From book chapters to op-eds, Lisa has come through for me in a pinch. I often have multiple writing deadlines on wildly different topics concerning the arts. I’ve needed someone to dig right into my copy quickly and efficiently. She brushes up on topics with solid research and edits my work as if she were someone in my field! She is careful to get the meaning of my words and the ideas I want to convey just right. She even returns her feedback ahead of deadlines. I am so grateful. Lisa is my now go-to editor!

Nikki A. Greene, PhD
Assistant Professor of Art History, Wellesley College

Recently, I sent Lisa a short story I had written as well a novel pitch and a first chapter. Within days, I received helpful and specific feedback. She was warm but straight-forward in her editorial letter and in-line notes; she noted both what was working and what needed more thought with direct quotes as evidence. Lisa wrote down moments where my diction was affecting the interiority of the piece and, as a result, distracting the reader. Professors have also pointed to my interiority in various courses I have taken over the years but have never provided clear direction as to how to fix its inconsistency. I never look forward to reading a critique of my work, but I trust Lisa whole-heartedly. She has empathy as a fellow fiction writer and follows the Golden Rule when interacting with her clients. At this point, I am enrolled in a degree program for creative writing but will seek out Lisa and her services as much as possible in between classes and workshops.

M. Gayton
Secondary English Teacher

“Lisa Ahn is a shaman with words. For more than eight years, she has taken the raw material of my fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and not only found the overwritten metaphors and plot holes, but she’s seen straight into the cracks in my work, into the fine fissures in my heart. Time and again, Lisa has gently, kindly, encouraged me to write the words that terrified me, and I am deeply grateful for her wisdom, steady presence, and meticulous eye.”

Patricia Caspers

“Lisa Ahn sees manuscripts with razor-sharp clarity – not just what they are, but what they could be — and gives insightful, targeted feedback on how to bridge that gap. She’s particularly adept at pulling nuance and deepness from the page, finding depth and meaning in your work you may not even have realized was buried there. I highly recommend her.”

Liz Michalski

“Lisa Ahn is an editing genius. She read and managed my ideas with sensitivity and elegance. She didn’t sacrifice the integrity of my words but added more to it with her creative touch. She is professional and a joy to work with. She replies quickly to all correspondence. I would recommend Lisa without hesitation! “

Julie Sheldon
Math Teacher

“Lisa did a great job reorganizing and helping to focus my manuscript!”

Tom Kirsch, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.E.P.
Physician, Educator and Author

“I first met Lisa Ahn at Cushing Academy in the Summer of 2013. I was in the College Prep Summer Session at the school, and Lisa was a guest instructor for my English class. After class, she pulled me to the side and told me how impressed she was with my material. I never felt comfortable writing, and I always felt my writing was mediocre and full of grammatical errors, but she reassured me that I was very talented and that I should keep writing. Over the years, we have stayed in contact and she continues to inspire me. She has helped me be structured with my writing and descriptive language. Her words of encouragement and affirmation have really helped me get through some very tough times. I still think about what she said about my writing, and I hope that one day, I do write something, and publish it. I know she will be the first one to buy my book.”

Ash Williams (Midnight Memoirs)

I am available to work on a wide range of projects, including fiction, nonfiction, memoir and academic manuscripts (short or long form). Student and college essays. Website and blog content. Business correspondence. 

Rates are based on the length of the project and the level of editing involved, but are generally in line with industry standards as set by the Editorial Freelancers Association.