Guest Blog: “Time, Not Words” by Tara Shaner

Today I am hosting a post from Tara Shaner, owner of Shaner Media Creations. She specializes in editing, creative assistance, and voice talent. She also happens to be my editor, my muse, and one of my favorite people.

To say that she is my editor is accurate, but it is also not exactly the right word to describe it. She takes my voice and amplifies it. Hones it. She takes what I was trying to say (but didn’t) and helps me say it. While I don’t normally include advertising on my blog, I cannot recommend what she does highly enough. She is as integral to my writing experience as my own creativity and imagination.

This post is a very eloquent statement on what she does, and why.

Time, not Words by Tara Shaner


“Why don’t you charge by the word? Everyone else does.”

This is, hands down, the most common point of confusion for anyone who asks about my services. I do understand other editors charge by the word. But, I’m not like other editors…  so I don’t.

Charging by the word does not distinguish between the writer who did a good job self-editing, and the one who didn’t bother. I want to reward authors who give editing an honest try. It’s hard work!

Charging by the word does not encourage learning and continuous improvement. For example, my edits often reveal the overuse of a word or phrasing. Pricing as I do motivates a writer to improve, thus reducing corrections (and time) on subsequent books. More important than missing commas, my authors learn about themselves, their strengths, and where they can improve.

Charging by the word does not consider that a good number of your words are quite lovely and thus require no assistance from me.

What is it you do then?

I do line editing. Spelling, typos, wrong word, errant punctuation. But that’s pretty normal. And I’ve told you, “I’m not like other editors.” Here’s how:

I’m a stickler for repetitive words; I will offer alternate, stronger or more specific language.

I delight in discovering plot inconsistencies, time line anomalies, and action scene irregularities (think fights and lovemaking). As a visual reader I picture your story in exacting detail, so I note when something violates one of the laws of physics, or nature.

I’m sensitive, and able to make intuitive suggestions, when a character moves out of voice. Occasionally I even “hear,” and propose, more than is written.


Prove it.

Sure! I am always happy to fully edit your first chapter (up to 3,000 words) entirely free with no obligation.

Why? I love to read. I adore a new challenge. It helps me learn about your style and voice. Based on the time I spend working with that chapter, and your total word count, I can extrapolate how long the entire project will take. A fairly clean book, that has very few errors, will take less time than one which requires more effort.

What do you get for trusting me with that first chapter? A clear and very personal view of how I am able to brighten your voice. A chapter’s worth of detailed edits, including a summary noting recurring patterns, what I enjoyed, and questions I hope your story answers. Call it coaching, because it is entirely my goal that you are able to independently apply my observations to the rest of your book. Finally, I will quote a firm price, and an estimated project timeline, should you choose to have me continue.

I work one project at a time. During my journey through your world, it is my complete focus to shape and color your voice into the most vivid and engaging story possible. I am unapologetic about my desire to get it right. The more I have to do, the longer it takes. And that’s why it isn’t word count that determines my price.

You can visit Tara Shaner on her Facebook site, Shaner Media Creations.

3 thoughts on “Guest Blog: “Time, Not Words” by Tara Shaner

  1. I just wanted to share I feel this way about my ghost writer, I’ve been working with the last few months she helps bring more life to my characters, so they’re not so dry. And she helps me make my work sound better to by changing a word or worded a whole sentence different so it sounds better.
    And she doesn’t charge me an arm and leg either (I’m on a fixed income so that’s why I love working her to. 🙂

    1. That’s awesome! I’ve always been curious about the ghostwriting process, especially as it relates to voice. Fantastic that you found the right person, and a bonus that it works with your budget 🙂

      1. well if you wanna know how me and my ghostwriter do things i’d be happy to share:)

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