British author J.K. Rowling, who created Harry Potter and the empire that sprang from him, knows a thing or two about magic.
But she knows even more about writing, since she doesn’t actually believe in magic—at least, not the sort of magic described in her books. In 1999 she told an interviewer, “I don’t believe in magic in the sense that I write about it, but I do believe that extraordinary things can happen in the world for which we don’t yet have an explanation.”
In 2007, her Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, and as usual, she expressed her true opinion through the words of Professor Dumbledore: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
She amplified on those thoughts in her 2008 commencement address to Harvard University: “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.”
Smiths and Shamans
Writing—and its partner, editing—are the essential tools of the wordsmith. And according to an old Yakut proverb, “Smiths and shamans come from the same nest.” Both possessed esoteric transformative knowledge; both were masters of fire. And in Celtic lore, Brighid was the patroness not only of blacksmiths but of shamans and healers, and of poets and writers as well. As Mircea Eliade put it,
“The shaman is the original poet, the tribal myth-maker who pulls up a ‘secret language’ from the depths of ecstasy: the hidden roots of language.”
Writers try to perform a similar alchemy with words, transforming the static and awkward into the powerful and lucid. “Whether in the compelling articulation of ideas, or the artful placement of words and images on a page,” wrote one client, “what Craig can do is nothing short of magic. He’s sort of a shaman of the written word.”
Wizard of the Blue Pencil
Whether you want copy editing to smooth out the prose of a journal article, content editing to restructure a longer piece, or editing a book-length manuscript for publication, let me be your first choice. I’ve edited weekly newsletters, quarterly magazines, and numerous books and book proposals—with excellent results. (The vast majority of my business comes from referrals from satisfied clients.)
My editorial services include:
- Copy editing (language, grammar, usage, style, and proofreading)
- Content editing (an in-depth examination of the piece’s structure and expression)
- Translating technical jargon into language that is accessible to a general audience
- Creating non-sexist, inclusive language versions of sensitive materials, while ensuring that the phrasing is never stilted or awkward
- Professional indexing of books and journals
Yadda-yadda-yadda. Forget all this esoteric stuff—let’s talk pragmatically. You need a writer, or an editor, or a graphic designer in your back pocket. Someone you can count on at a moment’s notice.
You need me. Drop me a line to discuss your latest project.