Kelly Barr, Professional Freelance Editor

I am a Professional Freelance Editor. I have four years of experience editing fiction.  I am a member of The Christian Pen: The Proofreaders and Editors Network. If you have a fiction manuscript or short story you would like edited, check out my “Editing Services” page for more details–simply click on the “Editing Services” tab at the top of the page.

Here are some books I have worked on:

The Sorcerer's Bane (The Seven Words Book 1) by [Wachter, C. S. ]    Bride Tree (Secrets of Versailles Book 2) by [Robinson, JP]

Here is what some of my clients have to say about my work:

“Kelly is a pleasure to work with. She is well-versed enough to understand the nuances of my genre (Christian Speculative) even though she doesn’t write Speculative. She knows her craft and is sensitive and gentle when giving input about things that need to be corrected or rewritten. Her notes are thoughtful and her suggestions made my book a better read and a more polished final product. ‘The Sorcerer’s Bane‘, book one of my series The Seven Words, is slated to be released soon and I will continue to seek her professional help on future manuscripts.  — C. S. Wachter

Kelly Barr did a very thorough job, generating a final product that truly expresses what I had in mind. Also, they shortened it by about 1600 words and that’s always a plus! 🙂 There were some that I chose not to apply, but the vast majority of the edits proposed were golden. — J. P. Robinson
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Kingdom’s Dawn by Chuck Black

So, after attending our local homeschool convention and meeting author, Chuck Black, I decided to read the books our youngest son loves, and it all begins with Kingdom’s Dawn. This is a series of books written for elementary and middle grade readers, but after reading the first book of “The Kingdom Series”, I have to say that I am hooked and looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

Kingdom’s Dawn is very well written and it is a Fantasy story with knights, the world of Arrethtrae, and unusual creatures. The story included plenty of action and adventure, conflicts and battles. I came to love the characters quickly and my interest was held throughout the entire book. I forgot I was reading an elementary/middle grade book and just got caught up in the story.

In addition to being a great Fantasy story, I love the fact that it’s also an allegorical story that, as a Christian, pointed me to many of the truths of the Bible. However, if you aren’t a Christian or you don’t like to read Christian books, those things may not be evident to you, and the book is not preachy in any way. Therefore I believe these books would appeal to all Fantasy readers, most especially to those Fantasy readers who enjoy tales of knights, castles, and kingdoms.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series and following Leinad’s journey, with the hope of meeting Cedric, who tells Leinad’s tale, in a future book. Also, these books do not take long to read. I finished this first book in about six hours and our son, who is a middle grade student but reads above his grade level, finished each of these books in about a week (that’s reading about two hours a day).

So if you’re looking for a good summer read for your children, I highly recommend this book. Our son recommends all of Chuck Black’s books to ALL of his friends!

 

Tea and Poetry

Today’s Tea Tidbit (from 365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know):

In early eighteenth century Britain, tea was served in coffeehouses, which were restricted to men only. If women wanted tea from these locations, they had to have a man purchase the tea for them.

Today’s Poetry selection is one of my favorite fun poems by Jack Prelutsky:

We’re Four Ferocious Tigers

We’re four ferocious tigers,
at least, that’s what we seem,
our claws are at the ready,
our sharp incisors gleam,
we’re quite intimidating,
our start will make you blink,
our roar will make you shiver,
at least, that’s what we think.

We’re four ferocious tigers,
at least, that’s what we hear,
our ominous demeanor
will chill your atmosphere,
and yet you need not fear us,
don’t scream and run away,
we only eat spaghetti,
at least, that’s what we say.

The Value of my Critique Partners

I have been in several critique groups: some large, some small; some that meet weekly, some once a month, and some twice a month; as well as an online critique group. Why have I been a part of so many critique groups? Because I believe having a critique group is important because it helps you improve your writing and your story–to write the best story you can write even before an editor gets to work on it. It helps make the editor’s job easier, and helps me not have to pay as high of an editing fee as if I didn’t put all of this work into it first.

After participating in all of the groups above, I have finally settled into one group that I believe is the perfect fit for me. I have read other writers’ opinions about critique groups and have found that most of them say that two or three critique partners is the best size. That is what I have found. The critique group I am a part of meets twice a month and is just two other ladies and myself, although a gentleman does join us over the summer months.

I have found that this group is the perfect fit for me and works best for the following reasons: 1) too many voices giving feedback can set my head to spinning, but two or three voices make sense and are easier to sort through; 2) meeting with the same people and having them critique my work from start to finish allows them to become very familiar with my work, my writing — both my strengths and weaknesses, as well as my goals — what my story is really about–what I’m trying to say.

Because of those reasons my writing continues to improve because of their comments, suggestions, and encouragement. Just a few weeks ago, one of them said to me, I don’t like where you’re going with this. There are too many new characters, and you’ve gone astray from the main goal of your story. (Or something very similar to that.) I left critique group that day feeling a bit frustrated. I’ve been working on this manuscript for over two years already–I want to finish it and move on to the next story! I don’t want to spend years on every book I write. (But, at the same time, I want every book that I write to be the very best it can be.)

However, because I value the opinions of these critique partners and have built a good, trusting relationship with them, I had to contemplate what she said, and I did. I took a week or two to mull it over and came to realize she was right. As a historical romance writer who loves history, I was trying to include too much history, and if I continued on the current path, my book was going to be too long. She was also right that I had lost the main goal of my story.

Once I came to that realization, I had to go back to find where I had veered from the proper path–eight chapters ago! Ugh! Well, I printed everything from chapter 17 (where I was last on track) through chapter 25, and I started writing from the end of chapter 17 again with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. I am still going through the other eight chapters to see if there is anything I can salvage and keep in the story, which my critique partners also assured me that I can, and they pointed out what they liked that still kept to my story goal and made it interesting.

Now, in just a few short weeks, I am writing my new 21st chapter and I love the direction the story is now going–much closer to my intended goal, and my critique partners have assured me that they are loving the new chapters and that my writing is better, stronger, and helps them to relate to the characters so much more.

So, if you’re a fiction writer, and you don’t have a couple of critique partners that you trust and meet with regularly, I greatly encourage you to find some. It will do your writing and your confidence in your writing a world of good!

Tea and Poetry

Today’s Tea tidbit is a quote by Charles Dickens (from 365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know):

“My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should               better understand your affairs.”

And today’s poem is by William Wordsworth:

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once i saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way.

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance.

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed-and gazed-but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.