Fiction editing

I specialise in literary fiction, but I also enjoy working with character-based genre fiction.

I offer two types of fiction editing:

• manuscript appraisal (the big picture)

• copyediting (the detail)

Let’s take a look at what you get.


Manuscript appraisal – the big picture

A manuscript appraisal shows you where your book is working and where it needs work. It gives you direction and confidence to get to the next draft.

Most editors offer manuscript appraisals as a written report, but I offer them as a recorded video workshop, which has three advantages over a written report:

  1. We can discuss what you want to achieve and what you’ve already tried, which allows me to offer advice that’s specific to your skills and experience
  2. We can workshop issues and ideas and possibly come up with solutions together (two heads are better than one)
  3. It costs less than a written appraisal (hooray!)

Mini or maxi?

You can choose from two options:

• a mini appraisal for the first 15K words of your novel

• a maxi appraisal for your complete manuscript.

A mini appraisal can be really helpful if you:

  • want to know if you are on the right track
  • need to reboot your confidence in your book
  • have an endless draft that you can’t rein in (yes I can help you with that even when I only read 15K words)
  • are interested in ongoing coaching – this can be the first step

A maxi appraisal is great for when you’ve written and revised as far as you can go, and are ready for some feedback.



Manuscript appraisal FAQs

What does the appraisal workshop cover?

As with a written appraisal, the workshop looks at all the building blocks of your book. This includes:

  • story arc
  • character development
  • scene and setting
  • rhythm, pace and tension.

When is the right time to get a manuscript appraisal?

An appraisal can be helpful with either a finished draft or a work in progress.

  • For a finished draft it will pick up any areas that need to be tightened or developed before the fine tuning of copy editing.
  • For a work in progress it can pin-point opportunities for development, give you reassurance you are on the right track, or help you get back on track if you’ve wandered off course.

If you’ve not had your manuscript read by someone who is able to give constructive feedback, such as a fellow writer or a beta reader, I highly recommend you start your editing journey with an appraisal. It’s important to look at the big picture before you deep dive into detail.  It will result in a better book and can save you money in the long run.

How much does it cost?

  • mini appraisal (first 15K words) $450
  • maxi appraisal (full manuscript) from $1400 for 80K words

What happens after the appraisal?

The aim of the appraisal is that you have enough feedback to get to final draft, ready for copy editing.

If you need further support to get to final draft, we can set up a writing coaching plan to help you through the next development phase.

Is a manuscript appraisal your next step towards being published?

Book a discovery call



Copyediting – the detail

Copyediting is the final polish. It focuses on your writing line by line, making sure the language, rhythm and flow are serving the story and the characters as best they can.

Here’s what one of my copyediting clients had to say about the process:

It’s precious for a writer to see the editor engage with your manuscript in such depth, and in such a supportive way. It builds a relationship of trust.
I like how your comments range from word choice and syntax tonarrative technique and character development.

Gilbert Van Hoeydonck

Copyediting is the last phase of editing before proofreading. Your manuscript needs to be in the best shape it can be structurally before you send it for copyediting, otherwise you could be wasting your money.

If you’re not sure if your manuscript is ready for a copyedit, I’ve created a nifty flowchart to help you work it out…

Check to see if you’re ready for a copy edit

If you are ready for a copyedit, get in touch for a free, no-obligation sample edit. This will help you work out if I’m the right editor for you. (And it helps me work out how much it will cost.)

Get a free sample edit


Other services

Lu Sexton

Hello, I’m Lu Sexton. I’m an editor and writing coach. I’ve been working with writers like you since 2009 and I love it. My mission is to help you bring out the best in your writing and get you one step closer to being published.

Ask me how


I feel I can’t praise Lu highly enough. I’d come to a standstill with my writing process and contacted Lu for a mini-appraisal. After reading only a few chapters of my work it was obvious to me that Lu ‘got it’. She had a true sense of my characters and which direction I wanted to/should take them in. She made a few suggestions that I would never have thought of myself but feel will benefit my work immensely. I felt comfortable and at ease with her from the beginning and hope to work with her again soon. Thanks for everything, Lu xx

P M Edwards

Lu did a manuscript appraisal of my novel. She was great to work with. She gave me some terrific ideas to develop the story. Her insight made a significantly positive impact on the direction I’ve taken it in.

Sarah Nicholson

Creative writer

Lu has been a pleasure to work with. Her manuscript assessment, one-on-one writing workshops and copy edits have been invaluable in the development of my first novel. Lu has a lot of knowledge and attention to detail which, along with her enthusiasm, really helped me take my manuscript to the next level.

I’d strongly recommend Lu to any writers – she can really help you develop a solid finished product.

Nichola Scurry

Author of 'With the Music'

Thanks Lu for doing such a great job copyediting my novel. All the feedback, from general notes to specific comments and changes, made sense to me and have improved the book in so many ways. I hope to work with you again some time.

Cover of 'Red Reflection'

Phil MacNamara

Author of 'Red Reflections'

I had the pleasure of working with Lu as my editor for a piece I had selected for a Visible Ink anthology in 2012.

From the outset, Lu established a great line of communication between us, and I found her to be an excellent editor in her ability to be supportive and constructive as well as critical. Her initial feedback and comments were fantastic, and I felt she really engaged with the story and the characters.

She has a keen eye, and a great ear for rhythm and cadence; some of her editorial suggestions very much enhanced the voice of the protagonist in my piece by keeping it consistent. She expressed her thoughts and opinions about editorial changes in a very constructive way, and has the ability to be practical, clear and concise about her reasoning for suggested changes.

I found Lu to be respectful in regard to my writing style, and her editorial work really productive. She was open and approachable, and I felt very happy with the final edit we ended up sending to print.

I wouldn’t hesitate to work with her again on future projects.

Else Fitzgerald