Advice & Guidance for WritersDo you want to get into writing crime fiction but don’t know where to start?

Do you want to write a book or short story, but worry about character development?

Are you worried about your spelling or grammar?

The old adage that there is a ‘book in everyone’ is not especially true. Despite several false starts, writing my first novel was not easy. I quickly realised that both spelling and grammar could be the downfall of many a self-published writer and even some established writers have manuscripts (MS) with typo’s and grammatical errors that should have been picked up.

But we are human and there is little likelihood of any published book, article, blog etc being completely devoid of errors. You can only read the same words over and over for so long before you become ‘word blind.’ The closer you are the more errors you’;;  mizz – see what I did there.

It is therefore important to give your work to a fresh pair of eyes. He or she will pick up errors that you may have read over many times and missed. I know I do.

As a retired police officer I have an intimate knowledge of how things work in the service. Police procedures have been seen on TV, films and written in books for years. Sometimes these procedures are farcical and occasionally push the realms of reality. In fiction though, you can do anything can’t you? Well, you can. But in crime fiction there needs to be at least a modicum of authenticity.

Crime fiction predominantly features a detective in a variety of emotional states, dark backstories and an adversarial boss. But there has been a growing trend that mixes up the various departments.

My time in the Traffic Division encountered all sorts of banter from the detectives. Even in fiction, predominantly Morse, Rebus and Barnaby, saw traffic cops as wooden-tops, which could not be further from the truth.

In the real world roads policing officers (Traffic to us old uns) make more criminal arrests than the detectives on average. Usually because they have been stopped in a car they think they can drive around without insurance or bring attention to themselves in some other way.

So, if you need guidance on police procedures, departments, rank structure or anything else then that’s where I can help.

Advice & Guidance for Writers

The costs for services are those as recommended by the Society for Editors and Proof-readers. (SfEP)

  1. Proof-reading: Described by SfEP as looking for ‘consistency in usage and presentation, accuracy in text, images and layout’ but it is not a copy-edit (see below). Terms of reference need to be agreed beforehand. £23.00 per hour.
  2. Proof-editing: As proof reading, but includes some negotiated editing to be done. As an example, the writing may have been a team effort and never read as a whole document. £25 per hour
  3. Copy-Edit: The SfEP describes a copy-edit as taking ‘the raw material and make it ready for publication.’ This can be a book, article, website, or other printed matter. It looks for consistency, repetition, errors or omissions.
    1. As an example, if a character’s name changes from Joe Bloggs to Josephine Bloggs from chapter to chapter, or the character puts a gun down somewhere then suddenly uses it without picking it up first.
    2.  What a copy-editor is not, is a ghost writer, researcher, fact-checker or plagiarism checker.

Terms of reference need to be agreed beforehand. £27.00 per hour

Full edit and mentoring can also be accommodated which should be discussed in detail beforehand with negotiated costs starting at £30.00 per hour.