Since 2008, I've been providing editorial support, copy editing, proofreading, and fact checking services to a variety of customers, both academic and trade. I have experience working with scholarly work, fiction, and digital resources, and with Chicago, MLA, and APA style manuals.
My mission: to help you produce the best writing possible--the clearest arguments, the most engaging prose, the most fascinating narratives--in your unique voice and style. I work to provide timely and supportive, yet thorough and critical, feedback that helps you get to publication--whatever level of editing you need, even if it's just a formatting check or a style guide conversion.
As an experienced freelance editor, I understand that everyone has a unique audience, and a unique way of communicating with that audience. Whatever the style of your communication or content, I offer high-quality editing services personalized for your needs. Please contact me to discuss your needs and for a personalized quote, and to inquire about special pricing for students, those in precarious employment, or for those using multiple services. Many of the services below can be combined or scheduled in succession for a single project.
I offer a variety of services, including:
Line Editing Also known as stylistic editing, line editing entails careful stylistic editing on a sentence-by-sentence (or "line-by-line") basis. Together, we'll make sure your content is consistently and clearly expressed in polished, confident, and engaging prose. While copy editing and line editing share some similarities, line editing focuses mainly on style and does not generally include exhaustive editing for grammar, spelling, and other errors (although if I see them while line editing, I will certainly flag them or correct them for you!). Since manuscripts will need further revision by the author after line editing, subsequent copy editing is usually recommended.
Copy Editing The goal of copy editing is to produce the most readable, error-free prose. This is a very technical level of editing, which involves correcting grammar, spelling, and syntactical errors; identifying factual inaccuracies and unclear prose; and ensuring that the manuscript conforms to the appropriate style manual or house style of a publisher or journal. While copy editing, I may suggest minor changes to sentence or paragraph structure that would improve the clarity or style of your prose, as I would in line editing--but these are always just suggestions, and that is not the focus of a copy edit. Copy editing differs from proofreading in that proofreading takes place after typesetting and formatting, corrects only formatting errors and typos, and does not suggest changes for clarity or style.
Formatting You might not need an edit of your written content; maybe you just need to reformat a manuscript to ensure compliance with a journal or publisher's style or formatting. Formatting includes changing the shape, look, and layout of your document--changing line and paragraph spacing, margins, heading styles, header/footer styles, page number placement and ordering, etc. I can reformat your manuscript for you, or simply ensure that your formatting meets the guidelines and correct it if necessary. Formatting can sometimes be quite tricky and technical and can happen at a late stage in the publishing process, leading to stress for authors--I can handle it for you.
Thesis/Dissertation Formatting Most universities require graduate students to format their theses and dissertations according to university-specific formatting guidelines. I can completely format your thesis or dissertation after all edits and revisions are made, or check and correct the formatting you have done. **Please contact me for information on student specials and pricing.**
Style Compliance and Conversion Academic writing and publishing (and some trade publishing) usually involves compliance with a style manual, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or APA. These style manuals govern the conventions of writing, from whether an author should use numerals or words to express numbers and when words are capitalized or hyphenated, to how headings should be formatted and whether the passive voice should be used or not (and much, much more). I can check your manuscript for compliance with a style guide (I'm fluent in CMS, APA, and MLA) or even convert your manuscript from one style guide to another.
Reference Checking Style manuals also determine the style and format of your citations and references. A full audit for style compliance includes reference checking, but I can also just edit your references without editing the formatting of your entire manuscript. I can check only the accuracy and formatting of your citations and references list/bibliography, or do a thorough edit of your references by cross-checking your in-text citations/footnotes against your references list/bibliography.
Proofreading Proofreading is the final check of a manuscript before it goes to the printer, and it generally takes place after typesetting and after the author has received a “proof” of the manuscript (that is, the formatted and typeset document). While many academic publishers perform copy edits of the manuscript in-house or with freelancers, authors are usually responsible for proofreading. During proofreading I will correct errors and typos introduced during typesetting or missed in earlier stages of editing and ensure the accuracy and consistency of formatting, such as page numbers, running heads, the table of contents, etc. I will not suggest improvements to prose or read for accuracy and clarity of content. The time for that is in line editing and copy editing! In self-publishing contexts or when preparing a manuscript for submission to an agent or publisher, proofreading can involve one last look at the manuscript and supply final corrections of minor errors, typos, and formatting errors or inconsistencies.
Fact Checking Checking factual assertions in a work of non-fiction. In academic editing, this is a very labor-intensive job and will require much more time than fact checking for a trade non-fiction work.
Researching Gathering and reporting on specific information requested by an author or client, for example, collecting phone numbers, data sets, information on a specific topic, etc., and putting it into easily readable formats such as tables, a short report, etc.
I am proud to share with you some of the work I've done, along with testimonials from some of my clients.
CAS-IT: TAP - Technical Writer CAS-IT is a department of the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University that provides training and web development for the faculty and staff of the College.
Editing and producing content for department and university websites
Repurposing print items for online publishing
Editing and producing manuals and help sheets
"Rebecca has worked on faculty websites, departmental websites, online campaigns, newsletters, flyers, manuals, and help sheets. She has worked with DreamWeaver, Contribute, Expressions, Publisher, SharePoint, Photoshop, and numerous CMS systems. Many of her projects have involved the repurposing of paper-based materials and processes into online applications. Not only did she participate on projects as part of a team but she also has been the project lead. Rebecca has always displayed a high degree of responsibility, intelligence, and creativity. She is a quick study and has proven herself over and over in her ability to problem-solve. In addition to her project related skills, she has shown that she can train other people. It is a rare and treasured prize to have the combination of creativity, technical ability, and interpersonal skills in an employee. Rebecca would be an asset to any organization. She is an intelligent and motivated individual who is more than capable of managing multiple projects in a timely fashion. Her work here at Illinois State University was very impressive." - Sarah Walczynski, IP Project Manager at Illinois State University
Thomas Messenger - Looking for Flyboys: One G.I.'s Journey: Vietnam 1970-1971 (memoir) Looking for Flyboys is the story of one young G.I.'s experience as a flight engineer on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. I put the book through several edits and a proofread, and it's currently awaiting publication and printing through Hellgate Press. "Rebecca Straple did a terrific job editing my book, Looking For Flyboys. She twice edited for punctuation and sentence structure, making sure my voice was heard throughout the book. Because of her editing the book has an even better flow. When my publisher received the book he told me he had very little to do but begin putting it into layout--thanks to Rebecca's excellent work."
James Bosco - Making Education Work (academic monograph) "I have had the good fortune to have worked with a number of highly skilled editors. Rebecca is right at the top of the list. After working on a book for quite a while and having gone through many versions the writer sometimes has difficulty seeing the text with fresh eyes. That is the job of good editor and that is exactly what Rebecca did for me. There is no doubt in my mind that the help she provided has helped me make the book much better than it would have been without her."
Katie Peterson - Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin "I contracted Rebecca to help do final edits on my dissertation, and could not be more pleased with the experience. Her attention to detail and focus on accuracy resulted in my final drafts exceeding the expectations set forth by my committee. Also of note is the speed at which she was able to return my papers. As is typical of students finalizing the last chapters of their dissertations, I was on a tight timeline. Rebecca was able to return the chapters ahead of the time frame I gave her. Without her help in the tedious editing process, I likely would have been delayed in graduating. All of that said, I will contract Rebecca for future work and will recommend her to my friends and colleagues."
Anna Semlyen - Cutting Your Car Use (non-fiction "how to") "I employed Becky who rigorously checked the large directory of information by searching for websites and updated the details in a more than competent way. I was very happy both with the speed and accuracy of her work. She annotated what she had done efficiently and used track changes to show what she was doing. I was kept up to date with progress and the job was done quickly and very well. That Becky was helping me made an otherwise tedious task manageable and I was very grateful for her excellent input. I have many other projects on the go and was delighted to be able to trust Becky with updating my directory as it freed me up to search for new entries and phone apps that were relevant. The book was comprehensively updated and has since been released as an e-book. I am a very satisfied client."
J. D. Shunk - The Lionheart Series (young adult fiction) The Lionheart Series is a YA Science Fiction series about a young man named Matthew Lionheart who time travels 500 years into the future and becomes embroiled in an interplanetary war over water, independence, and politics. I content edited, copy edited, and proofread the first two books in the series.
Drs. Susan Kim and Asa Mittman - Inconceivable Beasts Inconceivable Beasts: The Wonders of the East in the Beowulf Manuscriptis a scholarly book about the Anglo-Saxon text The Wonders of the East, published by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Drs. Kim and Mittman asked me to do a final proofread of the book before sending it to the printer.
Hile Group (industry) Hile Group is a consulting firm that works largely with industrial shipping companies to rework their safety policies and literature. I worked with them for six months as a freelance proofreader and technical writer, editing safety manuals, tables, and their website.