Writing Editing

Writing Editing

Sometimes our writing needs a soft place to land.

When you’ve spent a long time with a piece of writing it can become incredibly hard to see it clearly. It’s like driving for days on end… You know where you want to get, but your eyes are blurry and you don’t know where the map is, and how long will this gas tank last?

Firefly Editing Services offer a chance to slide over to the passenger seat for a while without losing momentum. Through careful listening, deep reading, and detailed feedback, we’ll metaphorically wash the windshield, straighten out the map and get you pointed back towards your destination, and a lot closer to it.

Here’s how Firefly is different from other editors…

Let’s face it — the world of editing can be incredibly harsh. At Firefly we offer deep and intelligent feedback without losing the values of connection, support and joy that drive us.

This means that while we’re reading we hold two fundamental questions in our minds — what is going beautifully, and what needs more work. We believe that only by understanding both of these things can we create our best possible writing. You’ll leave the process with clear and useful guidance, as well as a deep sense of what your gifts are and where your writing is already shining.

This also means that we value you as the author of your work. We’ll take time to get to know you, so that our feedback will protect and amplify your voice and vision. You’ll leave this process knowing in your bones that your work is yours, more so than ever before.

In other words, we bring the same rigour and depth of attention as other editors, but we do it along with the compassion, sensitivity and warmth that we’re well known for.

Here’s how it works…

Every package starts with a 30-45 minute chat on the phone so you can meet your editor, and she can get very clear on where you want your writing to go. Then you’ll email her your work and she’ll mail you a little package of we-know-it’s-hard-to-have-your-writing-out-of-your-hands-but-just-relax-it’s-all-going-to-be-okay supplies (which, yes, includes chocolate.) She’ll print your manuscript out and cozy up with it for 2-4 weeks (she’ll let you know how long before starting.)

She’ll read your work from start to end three times. She’ll listen to the deep music of your work, your unique power as a writer, and the places where more writing and attention are needed.  She’ll cover your pages in comments, letting you know her impressions as she moved through it (where she got confused, where she wanted more, what lines she absolutely loved), and then she’ll write you a long letter, answering all your questions and explaining exactly where she sees your project’s strengths, where it loses focus, and where it needs more time. If it’s relevant, she’ll include resources on plot theory, point of view, character development and so on. Her feedback will be loving, honest and practical.

Then she’ll mail your whole manuscript back to your door and you’ll have two weeks to fully digest her feedback before getting together over tea or Skype for a nice, long meeting — 75 minutes — to fully talk through the edits. Bring all your questions, uncertainties and loose threads, and together you’ll launch your piece on its path to a stellar final draft.

Please note:

We don’t work with every manuscript that comes in. Instead, we choose the ones that we know we can have a deep impact on. If you’re interested in this service, send us an intake form with a sample of your work and we’ll be in touch within the week.

Also, we’re here to help you write your best work. This may or may not be the work that fits current trends in the  publishing industry. For example, we’ll never tell you to add a vampire love triangle because that’s what kids are buying these days. (That said, if you want a vampire love-triangle, oooh, we can help.) If your only goal is to get published, we suggest looking for an editor who is working within the industry.


We put together custom quotes for all manuscripts that come in. Fill out an intake form and we’ll be in touch.

Ready to dive?

Fill in an intake questionnaire

When you’re ready for a copy editor, we have that covered too.

When you get to the stage of needing someone to finely polish your prose free of typos and grammatical ticks, our editor and coach Ailsa is your woman.

Meet the Editors

Ailsa Bristow holds an MA in English Literature and is a graduate of many, many writing workshops and critique groups in Canada and England. She’s also a certified Teacher of English as a Second Language (nothing gives you a thorough grounding in the finer points of English grammar than trying to teach it to other people.) Her publication credits include (parenthetical), untethered, The Cadaverine and The Minola Review. She edits work of all kinds, but has a special love for speculative fiction and fantasy. Learn more here.

Britt Smith holds a BFA in Film Production from York University and studied creative writing at the Humber School for Writers in Toronto. She has participated in creative writing workshops all over the globe. She was the first winner of the Little Bird writing contest and won the Humber Literary Review’s Emerging Authors Fiction contest. Publication credits include the Humber Literary Review, Broken Pencil magazine, Pithead Chapel and Echolocation. She edits work of all kinds, but has a special love for short fiction. Learn more here.

Can We Keep In Touch?

Can We Keep In Touch?

Every 2-3 weeks we email out a poem we love, a link to a new video writing prompt, and news of upcoming workshops. Can we send them to you?

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