Cindy Vallar

Author, Columnist, & Editor
P. O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425

Thistles &
                    Pirates Logo

About Me
Appearances & Book Signings
Editing Services
E-Books Historical Fiction vs. History My Excerpts: Novels My Excerpts: Short Stories
My Other Writings My Reviews Pirates & Privateers Recommended Books to Read
Research: Favorite Links Research: My Resources Scotland: Clan Cameron Scotland: Highlands Workshop Photos
Scotland: Thistle's Scotland 1 Scotland: Thistle's Scotland 2 Web Rings & Memberships Website Awards
Workshops Contact Me Sign My Guestbook Subscribe to my T&P Newsletter

Editing Service

As a writer it's important to know what other people think of my work, especially before I submit my manuscript to publishers. The more professional the manuscript appears, the better the chance an agent or editor will take me seriously.

During my years of writing, I have often been asked to edit or critique other writers' works. My years as an educator, librarian, reviewer, editor, and writer provide me with the skills and experience to do this and do it well. I write Red Pencil, an editing column for Historical Novels Review, the review journal of the Historical Novel Society. In the past, I was an editor and copy editor for Wings ePress, the short story editor for NovelBooks, Inc., and a content editor for Pyrates Way Magazine.

I offer my editing services to any writer who wants a trained and unjaundiced eye to help improve his/her writing. Any comments I make are offered as suggestions; it is up to the writer to decide whether the advice is worth taking or not. I work with the author to make his/her story or non-fiction piece the best it can be.

What do I do when I edit someone's work? I read the entire manuscript, make line edits (grammar, spelling, punctuation), point out discrepancies (the hero has blue eyes at the beginning of the book, but purple eyes at the end or the hero drives a truck after it's destroyed in a fire), identify passive sentences that should become active, and provide recommendations for what works and doesn't work or where there's too much or too little information given for the reader to understand what the author attempts to convey.

Below are what other authors have said about my edits. If you would like me to edit your work, e-mail me for more information about what I do and what I charge. Unsure whether or not you'd like my help?

I'll be happy to edit your first chapter (up to 5,000 words) for free.
Click on the Thistle to Contact Me.

Send it to me in the body of an e-mail or as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format with your request for a free sample. Please identify the genre and audience, and provide a word count of the total manuscript.

Warmest regards,

National Association of Independent Writers
                      and Editors Member Button 
Substitute damn every time you're inclined to write very; your editor will delete it
and the writing will be just as it should be. ~ Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

The Red Pencil
Historical Novels Review

(May 2005 - May 2018)

An editing column where I compare an author's draft of a work with the published novel

May 2018 Spotlight on: Christmas as Carnton by Tamera Alexander (PDF)
author-editor relationship & revising

November 2017 Spotlight on: Liberty Boy by David Gaughran (PDF)
fleshing out scenes

May 2017 Spotlight on: Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister (PDF)
adding depth to scenes

November 2016 Spotlight on: The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford (PDF)
romantic tension

May 2016 Spotlight on: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel (PDF)
female relationships

November 2015 Spotlight on: Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden (PDF)
show don't tell

May 2015 Spotlight on: The Snow Bride by Lindsay Townsend (PDF)
memorable characters

November 2014 Spotlight on: Dawn's Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris (PDF)

May 2014 Spotlight on: Dearest Enemy by Joan Druett (PDF)

November 2013 Spotlight on: Brock's Traitor by Tom Taylor (PDF)
believable characters

November 2012 Spotlight on: The Lieutenant's Whistle by Fred Stemme (PDF)
compelling story revisions

May 2012 Spotlight on: Blood Brothers by E. Thomas Behr (PDF)
the hook

November 2011 Spotlight on: The Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap (PDF)
dialogue & characters

May 2011 Spotlight on: The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick (PDF)
final polish & editing

November 2010 Spotlight on: The Fruit of Her Hands by Michelle Cameron (PDF)

May 2010 Spotlight on: In the Lion's Mouth by Jean Harrington (PDF)
editing drafts

November 2009 Spotlight on: Dream of the Dragon Pool: A Daoist Quest by Albert A. Dalia (PDF)

May 2009 Spotlight on: A Secret and Unlawful Killing/Michaelmas Tribute by Cora Harrison (PDF)
setting, time & place

November 2008 Spotlight on: Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors (PDF)

Thanks for so much for doing the great piece on Beside a Burning Sea. I just read your article and thought that it was extremely well done. Bravo.~ John Shors

May 2008 Spotlight on: Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors (PDF)
story beginning

November 2007 Spotlight on: The Eagle's Prophecy by Simon Scarrow (PDF)
pacing & catalysts

May 2007 Spotlight on: The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan (PDF)
historical icons as characters

So sensitively covered! Excellent. ~ Faye Turner

November 2006 Spotlight on: Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy (PDF)
character voice

May 2006 Spotlight on: Oksana by Susan K. Downs and Susan May Warren (PDF)

November 2005 Spotlight on: The Only Life That Mattered by James L. Nelson (PDF)
female as male character portrayal

May 2005 Spotlight on: There Is a Wideness by Mark McAllister  (PDF)
protagonist voice

It is superb.  Thank you so much for featuring my book in your debut column. ~ Mark McAllister


Articles on Editing's Editor Entry

Online Books on Editing


What Others Think of My Edits

[B]ased on the great feedback you provided in your edits, I am proud to say that I took all your suggestions to heart and managed to get my second story published. I just wanted to personally thank you -- the feedback you provided has really helped me grow as a writer and if/when I finally do get around to working on a longer piece, I will definitely reach out to you as an editor! Thank you! -- Austen McGee, author of "The Greyest of Skies"

I could not do this project without your expertise. -- Tom Green, designer of The Pirate Republic

I found Cindy through the Linkedin Historical Fiction Group, and she offered a free sample of her editing. She does both proofing and content editing. And her samples of both were excellent. I had several technical questions before sending her my manuscript to proofread, and her answers were clear and "spot on." Now that she has completed the proofing of my novel, I remain impressed. She has an in-depth knowledge of grammar, a great attention to detail, and returned my work in a timely manner." (Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value)
Ė Phyllis Haislip, author
of The Viscount's Daughter

You did a terrific job . . . you found things, including plot structure, grammar, and issues with character development that I hadn't seen. You are phenomenal. You took my work to another level and you changed the way I'll be writing in the future. -- Chanta Jefferson Rand, author of Rise of a Queen

indy is a knowledgeable editor. My experience with her was professional in every way. She took the extra step of providing reasons why something did or didn't work. She offered to provide references for areas of further research. Her work on my present novel was more than an edit, it was an education in writing. That alone was worth the price, and the cost of the edit was more than reasonable. While it might be possible to obtain an edit at lower cost, I doubt it is possible to get one for better value. Nor will you find an editor who is more reliable, and trustworthy. (Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value) Ė Dennis Berry, author of The Rose

You have done an excellent job and have definitely provided me with a lot of positive feedback. I really do feel like my style has improved. I owe that to you and your patience in helping me find my writing voice. It's been such a great pleasure working with you. I've really enjoyed it and owe so much to you and your patience. -- Clarissa Phillips

I could not have done this without your input, Cindy. You saw this from the very beginning and showed and taught me how to make it so much better. I look back at some early drafts and wonder that you didn't throw it out. I guess your years of teaching enabled you to take a beginning writer and be such a wonderful coach. --
Judith Schara, forthcoming Kindle book Spiral

You greatly assisted me in editing my very first manuscript . . . several years ago. I wanted to thank you for all your support and assistance. You were crucial to my writing education . . . during that time. -- K. Chrisbacher, author of The Last Innocent

I just love your comments, and best of all I love it when you pick up 'author intrusion'. I didn't realize how obvious it is and I'm now looking for all the 'she wonders', 'I feel' passages within the text. It's great to learn from the expert. -- Glenice Whitting, author of Pickle to Pi and Something Missing (interview with recommendation)

My first editor, Cindy Vallar, was my greatest teacher. She taught me the importance of getting my historical facts correct. Nothing pulls a reader from a story faster than finding something that doesn't belong to the era or hearing dialogue too modern for the time. Through Cindy, I also learned the distinct difference between telling a story or showing a novel. -- Ginger Simpson, author

Cindy Vallar offers an excellent editing service. She checks every factual detail, and works on style and character development as well. I know that you would find working with her a most rewarding experience. -- Joan Druett, author of the World of the Written Word blog

Just a note to let you know how much fun it was to work with you. I've learned much. I thought the process would be painful but it wasn't. It was great. -- Rita Thedford, author of Tempted, Wings, winner of the Golden Wings Award for Historical Romance
You are the most expert editor Iíve ever work with, and I have been an editor professionally. You miss nothing, dear lady, and itís a true pleasure doing business with you! -- Cerise
Your wonderful insights and suggestions have opened the doors of my imagination. I'm beyond words. I thought I have done a good job imagining the scene, but I felt I could enhance the experience much more from your feedback. Thank you so much! -- Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace and Empress of the Bright Moon

I was looking at your edits and wow you really caught some no noís. Funny Iíve worked with a critique group of six ladies this last year, some published, and no one caught any of the errors you did. I do appreciate your comments. -- Tamara Fairchild
I wanted to thank you for the great editing you did on my book. It is totally different and more easy to read. I love all the changes. -- Tammy Winslett, In Spirit and In Truth
I can never express with words my appreciation for your excellent help on this novel. Thank you so much, and thanks for wishing me well with this one. -- Margery Harkness-Casares, author of Flood, Drought, and Trudy Pyburn, Wings, Feb. 2007
Thank you for your excellent comments on the Dutch story. -- Tom D.
FINALLY, an editor who edits and teaches at the same time! This is just what I need because you are teaching me to understand the craft, the why's and how's of writing. -- Marilyn Morningstar
It was a pleasure working with you on Means to an End.  Your suggestions were helpful and made my story stronger. -- Carol McPhee, author of Means to an End
One of the problems in self-publishing your own book is that you get too close to your own work to do a good copy edit. However, having said that, finding a good copy editor is not easy. I was extremely lucky in getting Cindy Vallar to copy edit my book Holly!! and His Black Coat of Invisibility.  She did an excellent job. -- Paul La Violette
Cindy worked well with the authors and website team, without conflict or problems. She always submitted her files on time, without having to be reminded, and produced quality work. She took the initiative, and when she saw something that wasn't editorially correct, she explained why in a clear and concise manner. When editorial differences arose, she worked with her supervisor and the authors to come to the best solution for everyone, without sacrificing the integrity of the work. I highly recommend Cindy Vallar as an excellent editor. -- Ruth D. Kerce, Website Director, Novel Books, Inc.
Thanks for doing such a terrific job of copyediting. -- Lynette Baughman, author of Vegas Centennial
I read that the single most difficult relationship in writing is between the author and editor. This concerned me because I'd never written a published work. Cindy surprised me with her patience and flexibility, her expertise and knowledge about things related to writing and publishing. At times I felt that I must be her only customer. She answered all my questions and taught me how to take my work to a professional level. At one point I discovered how difficult it is to have someone critique your labor of love. I really didn't like it when she told me my sentences were passive, or that I'd used the same word five times in two paragraphs, but I saw the value of it. She's made this an enjoyable experience. Thank you, Cindy. -- Mark Bogumill, author of KingMaker: Book One - The Swamp Crusade
Cindy works with the author as if the author and editor are a team.  She guides with a gentle hand and makes valuable suggestions. Discrepancies are pointed out tactfully and professionally. When I asked questions, her replies were always prompt, courteous and informative. Her attention to detail is a bonus. I learned valuable skills from her and will carry these skills into my future projects. Due to her excellent editing skills, my romantic suspense novel Love Through a Strangerís Eyes has received fantastic reviews and won the Word Weaving Award of Excellence and the prestigious Scribes World Reviewerís Choice Award. Cindy Vallarís knowledge and kindness are a great combination. She is a pleasure to work with and a valuable asset to have on your side. I look forward to working with her on many future projects. Highly recommended. -- Jan Springer, Award-winning Romantic Suspense Author, Love Through a Stranger's Eyes, 2003 EPPIE Finalist

Your feedback is exactly what I wanted, and desperately needed to help me discover my unconscious mistakes and then be able to rectify them. Your comments are so clear and straight to the point. I understand exactly what you mean and find myself saying, "Oh, yes, I can see that. Why couldn't I see it before?" It's so hard to find someone like you. So many do not have your insight or sensitivity. These pages will enable me to lift my work up to a much higher level. You are a brilliant critiquer and just the right person to inspire and help writers achieve their dreams. -- Glenice Whitting, author of Pickle to Pi, 2006 winner of Illura Press Fiction Quest
Thanks so much for all of your editorial support!! and your encouragement! -- JoAnn G. Mondowney, author of Hold Them in Your Heart: Successful Strategies for Library Services to At-Risk Teens (Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2001)
Did I tell you I think you're an amazing editor?  You must be so busy, yet you gave me so much of your valuable time. I've used many of your suggestions because I could see the improvement to the prose straight away. I've also followed a lot of your recommendations for manuscript format. I'm so fortunate to have gained your help. -- Wendy J. Dunn, author of Glyph Award winner Dear Heart, How Like You This?, Metropolis Ink, 2002
How can I thank you for such in-depth critiquing? Thanks for the very thorough reading and comments! You pointed out some problem areas that I hadn't noticed, as well as a few I'd considered changing. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and critique this more than I can say. -- Virginia Katzeff

Thank you so much for your careful comments. Your points are excellent. As I begin writing my first historical romance I need to focus on the critical points that the reader would be confused by. You have been very helpful in that. I'll consider how to make what you notice work more smoothly. And I really appreciate your sitting down and writing such a great message. -- Kate Murphy
As usual, Cindy, you've given me a lot to think about! And I love it!! Thanks for the input. I'll definitely look you up for more critiquing. -- Kei Swanson, author of The Words of the Pitcher and Seabird of Sanematsu

Many, many thanks. Another head is so good. You have a different approach to synopses and I used all of them. Your comments are most welcome. Thanks again. Everything you said was right-on, and I love it. -- Yvonne Harris, author of Hindu Kush



Articles on Editing for Writers
(updated 3/18/2020)

14 Words That Are Hurting Your Writing by Melissa Allen

Ask the Editor: Lie vs. Lay by Betty Sargent (succinct and easiest explanation to understand)

Avoiding an Editorís Most UN-Wanted List by Tina Morgan
Avoiding Comma Confusion by Moira Allen

Beyond Basic Blunders by Jerry B. Jenkins
Book Editing by Scott McCormick

Choosing an Editor by Shakirah Dawud
Common POV Errors by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Common Mechanical Pitfalls by Vicki Hinze
Copyediting Shakespeare by Thomas Christensen

Dangling Modifiers by Lee Masterson
Deep Point of View by Melinda Williams

Do You Filter Your Fiction? by Robb Grindstaff

8 Tips for Reviewing a Manuscript Critique by Janice Hardy
Editing Corner: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? by Brenda LaPage

Editing for Consistency by Victoria Grossack
Editing Gripes by Kathy Steinemann

Editing Made Easy by Lee Masterson
The Editor's Blog by Beth Hill

Faceoff: 'he', 'he or she', 'he/she', 's/he' versus 'they' by Catherine Soanes
Finding the Editor for You by Michel Prince
Five Edits to Strengthen Your Writing, Right Now by Janice Hardy
Five Stages of Editing Grief by Elizabeth MS Flynn
5 Tips on How to Work with an Editor by Mark Nichol
A Good Editor -- Don't Leave Home without One by Donnell Bell
Guide to Grammar and Style by Jack Lynch

How an Editor Knows Your Book Isn't Read after the First Chapter by Meg LaTorre
How an Editor Will Make You a Better Writer by Margot Atwell
How to Edit a Novel Without Feeling Overwhelmed by Janice Hardy
How to Fix Plot Holes by Jami Gold
How to Handle Conflicting Critiques by Janice Hardy

How to Use Grammarly to Improve Your Writing by Joanna Penn

Keep Calm, and Say It Plainly by Malie Lalor

Mark Twain New This Secret about Writing by Barbara Kyle

Need Advice from an Editor? by Jami Gold
New article
Nice Work--Just Change Everything by Jenna Glatzer

Plain Doesn't Mean Boring by Beth Hill

The Real Problem with Passive Voice in Fiction by Janice Hardy

Reasons Editors Reject Manuscripts by Vicki Hinze
Restraining Accents by Beth Hill

See Where They Hide: Spotting Passive Voice by Amy J. Fetzer
Self-Editing by Lori Handeland
The Spit Shine: Things to Check Before You Submit by Janice Hardy

Ten Mistakes Writers Donít See by Pat Holt
The Seven Red Flags in Editing: Why Editors & Agents Reject Your Manuscript After the First Pages by Meg LaTorre-Snyder
There's no eHarmony for Finding Editors from the Minnesota Writers' Alliance
Tightening Your Writing by Rachelle Gardner

To Do: Learn Story Development Skills by Jamie Gold
Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor by Rachelle Gardner

What to Look for in an Editor from the Author-Editor Clinic
What's the Right Way to Include Multiple POVs by Kassandra Lamb

 When Telling, Not Showing Is the Right Choice by C. S. Lakin
Why a Well-written Novel Can Still Stink by Janice Hardy
Working with an Editor by Mark Nichol


Online Books on Editing for Writers

The Chicago Manual of Style
The Economist Style Guide
English as She is Wrote

Higher Lessons in English
How to Write Clearly
National Geographic Style Guide
Practical Grammar and Composition

"Stops", Or How to Punctuate

 © 2001-2010 Cindy Vallar

Home About Me Appearances & Book Signings Editing Services
E-Books Historical Fiction vs. History My Excerpts: Novels My Excerpts: Short Stories
My Other Writings My Reviews Pirates & Privateers Recommended Books to Read
Research: Favorite Links Research: My Resources Scotland: Clan Cameron Scotland: Highlands Workshop Photos
Scotland: Thistle's Scotland 1 Scotland: Thistle's Scotland 2 Web Rings & Memberships Website Awards
Workshops Contact Me Sign My Guestbook Subscribe to my T&P Newsletter