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There is no such thing as first draft excellence. (Okay maybe there is, but honestly, I’ve yet to see it). In my opinion, good writing only happens after a first draft is finished. Once done, you work the heck out of it. My job is to cast a fresh eye on the work in order to separate what is actually on the page from what you think is there.


"Ellen's feedback is sharp, thoughtful, and transformative. From word choice details to sweeping structural notes, her advice meets writers where they are and challenges them to reach their highest potential. Ellen has not only elevated my manuscripts—she's changed the way I think about writing."

–Hannah Capin, author of I Am Margaret Moore, Foul Is Fair, and The Dead Queens Club

“I've taken many workshops and classes over the years, and without a doubt, Ellen Bryson is one of the best writing teachers I've ever had. Her insights are always on point and she's taught me so many nuggets of writing craft (like scene-writing, grounding dialogue in action and description, and more) that I use to this day.”

-Sylvia Liu, author of Manatee's Best Friend, and Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation

“To put it simply, Ellen is the best reader/critic I know.  She tells me what’s good, what’s not so good and what’s missing.  I submit nothing before Ellen reads it.”

-John Cameron, Tarheels in Gray. McFarland Press

How we would work together

Once you send me your pages, I do a deep dive into the text, making both extensive edits page by page, and editorial comments throughout the text.  I then write a detailed description of what works well and what needs to be reconsidered, revised, cut, or opened up.


Because I am primarily a developmental editor, my focus is on helping you bring the story alive by de-mucking, strengthening and aligning it. I believe that writing is a matter of perfect word after perfect word, so I spend considerable time honing sentences and paragraphs as well.


If you want more information on method or fees or anything else, please contact me and we can talk.

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