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David Rauenzahn
Chiral - Book 1

David Rauenzah found me along his journey of self-published the first novel of a series. He had crafted a fantastic world full of hard characters and compelling action. He asked for my developmental editing services.

How I Helped

I read through David’s novel, leaving comments wherever I noticed that something didn’t quite fit. This included inconsistency in character development, plot structure, or the movement of the scene itself. I also left overall feedback at the end of each chapter, summarizing strengths and weaknesses. Along with each “needs polish to shine,” I left questions, thoughts, and examples to help him with the revision process. We scheduled a few video conferences to talk through trickier parts, and I wrapped everything up with a Plot and Character Overview report.

David got to work, making tweaks big and small to make his story really shine. Once he was done, I read through everything a second time and was happy to give him a glowing final report that all the places that needed a bit more polish, and perhaps a bit more elbow grease, were sparkling.

The experience for David

When I first submitted my story to Zac Tighe of Copysmyths for editing, I was unsure of many things. It was only my second time submitting a manuscript for editing, and the only other experience I had with an editor was the using StoryGrid approach, which, for all its many virtues, is a bit overwhelming and a little too clinical for my tastes. I am a "pantser" writer and was in search of an editing process that maintained a more open and intuitive spirit of developing the story, rather than dissecting it within an inch of its life and rebuilding it from the ground up. I had also been looking at other editors and was similarly overwhelmed by the sheer number of prospects. But from the moment I started talking to Zac, I had an intuition that he was a good match for the project, though I didn't know to what extent that would be true at the time.


I had thought that I had a pretty decent story when Zac and I agreed to work together. My plot was pretty solid, action scenes were detailed and dynamic, and I had a cast of characters that each had a definitive and necessary role in the story. I wasn't sure where there was room for improvement. But that's what the editor is for, right?


Zac's analysis and insight elevated a story that I had been fairly confident in into one in which I am truly proud to have brought to fruition. He understood that the main weakness in my story was also the crux of it: the first-person perspective. He pushed on the weak points in my protagonist's awareness, motivations, decisions, and perspective meticulously and unapologetically. By the time I had finished responding to all of his critiques, my plot hadn't changed in any substantive way, just one or two beats. But because of his helping me develop the internal dimensions of the main character and the story, everything changed. Every action felt meaningful, the dialogue was more dynamic and engaging, the choices that were already in place carried more weight, and the characters pushed each other more because I understood them better and wasn't afraid to have them explore unknown territory or have them backpedal as a part of their character growth. In short, the story became more human.


Especially nowadays, we need genuine stories of humanity, in all its complexity. Zac had an incredible impact on achieving that goal and bringing my story into its full realization. I cannot recommend his services enough to anyone looking to take their book to the next level.

~David Rauenzahn

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