You want an editor who can write, teach, and edit brilliantly.

A developmental memoir editor must understand how to:

  1. use writing craft
  2. teach you how to enhance your writing craft
  3. communicate writing solutions clearly and directly
  4. provide the support you need to succeed

What you get with Lisa as your memoir editor:

• A passionate reader who enters your story eager to discover your intentions

• A smart editor who quickly discerns if your story is working

• An articulate teacher who helps you fix story problems by developing content and editing current material

• A savvy member of the publishing industry who advises on what makes a book sell, and helps you prepare your manuscript for agents and editors

Why choose a phone consultation:

A phone consultation is an affordable way to talk in with Lisa in Santa Fe, New Mexico. You can ask questions, get guidance before you begin your project, or sort out a vexing craft issue with a pro.

• Sign up below:


What does Comprehensive Manuscript Editing include:

• Developmental Editing—This form of editing locates deeper story problems and helps you develop the writing to fix them. Story arc/structure problems, and character development are common examples. You have strengths as a writer. It’s my job to capitalize on those strengths, and help you develop the material where it isn’t working so that your story is ready to compete in the marketplace.

Line Editing—ferrets out craft problems, like inconsistencies in tone, clichés, deficient descriptions, too much telling instead of showing, passive verb choices, dialogue that doesn’t work, imagery that scuttles the atmosphere of your project, and many more elements that go into making a manuscript ready for publishers.

Copy editing—aligns your manuscript with the style publishers use. I employ The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam Webster, as do most book publishers. I know the rules and make sure your manuscript follows them.

Proofreading—perfects pages that are ready to go to the printer. Most writers are not at this stage, but you may be if you are self-publishing. It’s about punctuation, paragraph indents, word spacing, italics, typefaces, and the like.

Click here to read more about Comprehensive Manuscript Editing and to become a client:


Two pages of hand written and edited text by novelist James Joyce. The pages show crossed out sentences and highlighted sentences in green and red. It looks like quite a mess, but is a good example of what it means to edit your writing closely.
Here’s how James Joyce edited his work.


Common problems where I can help:

You are stuck and can’t make your story work; you need help seeing a solution.

• You need help with story structure.

• You have a finished draft, but you want to be sure it’s ready for agents and editors.

• You have submitted your manuscript to agents, gotten rejections, and you need fresh eyes to discern story, writing and marketing problems.

Click here to contact me.


Client feedback:

Here’s what Lisa’s clients say:

“I’ve told anyone who would listen that working with Lisa Dale Norton for me was the equivalent of getting an MFA degree. I started writing as a journalist, and finished my work with her as a memoir writer. To me this means I was using the techniques of fiction to craft a story, instead of reporting on it.” —Sally Petersen

“Her work ethic regarding timely responses, pricing, and a genuine commitment to excellence is first rate. I highly recommend her.” —Joe Pritchard

Click here to read more from clients.


Shimmering Images—America’s book for writing memoir

Read Free—Chapters 1–3 of Shimmering Images

How I came to write Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir:

The book cover of Lisa Dale Norton's memoir guide Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir, published by St. Martin's Press.
Shimmering Images, America’s go-to memoir writing guide.

After interacting with thousands of writers in classes and public gatherings, it dawned on me that the real reason people didn’t write their stories was: They simply didn’t know HOW to begin.

Every writing book on the market told them what they should do to create a story, but few offered instruction on how to do it.

With that in mind, I wrote down the simple techniques I’d used for years to help writers get their memories onto the page.

Library Journal  found Shimmering Images “hard to put down.”

Click here to buy Shimmering Images.