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. You’ll know before she begins how long she plans to take with it.

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.

If you’ve chosen our “Pure Editing” package, you’ll be nearing the end of the process at this point. You can follow up via email for two weeks with any outlying questions as you read through her feedback. If you’ve chosen our “Full Editing”, you’ll then meet three times over the coming three monthe to work through implementing the edits. Over tea and cookies or Skype, you’ll have loads of space to work through your questions, uncertainties and loose threads, and walk your piece down it’s 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 the intake form below and we’ll be in touch. We’ll offer “Pure Editing” pricing, which offers written feedback on work, and “Full Editing” pricing, which includes one-on-one sessions to help digest the feedback and receive support in creating the next draft.

Ready to dive in?

We’re booked up until December, but if you’re not in a rush, fill out our intake form here and we’ll pop you in line!

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.


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.


What People Are Saying:


Over the past year I worked on expanding a small kernel of an idea into a novel. Suddenly it had grown in so many different directions that I was feeling overwhelming and out of control. That’s when I sent it to Firefly. I knew my writing was in loving hands, but I was still a little (a lot) fearful.  But, the feedback I received was filled with encouragement as well as so many concrete suggestions for where to go next in my writing. I am now both motivated and have a much better understanding of the direction I need to take. Thank you to Firefly for being an incredibly supportive and invested companion on this often lonely writing adventure.  I am blown away by the care and attention that you took with my manuscript and I am so grateful to have you by my side!

Kathryn Moore


I’ve had some unique life-experiences and wanted to try writing a book about them. Only problem was, I had no idea where to start. Enter Firefly! Chris worked carefully with me to ensure that I not only had the passion to continue on my own, but the technical skills too. I’m proud to say I finished my first 280 page novel and am now in the process of finding an agent and bringing it to life. I couldn’t have done it without Firefly’s passion, knowledge and encouragement. If you have a yearning to learn how to write, I’d strongly recommend giving Firefly a call.

Alex Brooks


I just wanted to say that I am so grateful for your knowledge, skill and insight, and also for your grace, care, tact, kindness and love. Your comments on my novel are immeasurably helpful, and even more so because I can take them in a spirit of love without feeling at all defensive. I send you my deepest appreciation for your care with my work, and with my delicate artist’s soul.

Alex Hickey
Singer Songwriter