Attention all Rumen-readers, curious poets, tale-tellers, and interested verse-smiths!

Look for a bit of feedback? Need a second opinion? Working on a poem, short story, or novel that just needs a little something extra? The editors of The Rumen are opening their developmental and line editing services for poetic and literary works-in-progress.

Developmental & Line

James Cole, co-founder of The Rumen and its chief poetry editor, will provide detailed feedback on the composition, form, themes, and devices, including:

  • Detailed in-line comments
  • Recommendations on formatting
  • A list of possible techniques you can experiment with
  • Summary of both pros and cons of your particular poetic stylings

Note that James’s critiques are subjective and in no way represent the “right” or “correct” way to construct your pieces. Special requests can be made if you would like a more focused review and James is always open to discussing different versions of poems. James feels particularly capable advising on the following elements:

  • Rhyme, rhythm, and tonality
  • Conceptual poetry
  • Workshopping figurative language
  • Finding surrealistic “sweet spots” in more avant-garde works
  • Avoiding cliché and excess poetic tropes


Poems up to 150 words:

$15 per poem

Poems over 150 words:

$15 plus $5 per 50 words

If you’d like to submit one or more poems, or if you’d just like to learn more, please use our contact form to get in touch!

Editorial Assessment

It’s been said that you’ll never really know what your story is about until you’ve finished it. In our experience, a great story is never truly finished, but somewhere along the way a part of the veil lifts and you suddenly see a little more of its inner mechanisms: how characters shape and are shaped by the worlds around them, how the plot fits together to form a consistent whole, and how through analogy your story points to a deeper and more universal truth.

We can't lift that veil for you, just as we can't, and won't, write your story for you. What we can do is tell you what your story means to us and show you how to tell it as efficiently and effectively as possible. We do this by examining:

  • Genre

    While it's possible that you may want to make a sharp left turn to a completely different genre, it's more likely that you'll want to accentuate particular elements of your story and develop them into a clear sub-genre: Whether your story is Horror with comedic relief vs. a true Horror-Comedy can make all the difference in the world when it comes to fulfilling readers' expectations.

  • Perspective

    When Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the first draft of A Study in Scarlet, it was Watson alone who used his skills as an Army doctor to solve the mystery. But something didn't quite feel right; the reader, Doyle felt, had too much access to the mind of the protagonist, and he wanted that protagonist to be just as mysterious as the plot of the story itself. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how it all turned out.

  • Main characters

    Your characters are the soul of your story, and as such they ought to be the ones that drive the plot and leave their marks on the world you've created. We’ll look at their motivations, methods, and beliefs with an eye for consistency as well as depth.

  • Themes

    We’ll look at what the major themes of your story are and how your characters, plot points, and imagery support them.

Developmental Edit

By now you've got a pretty good handle on what your story is about. You can see the overall movement of it, the progression of major plot points, and the way your characters have started out in one place and gone someplace completely different (and possibly ended up back where they started). You can see the forest, and it looks great, but the trees themselves are still a little bit out-of-focus. You know how you want all of the pieces to fit together, and it’s time to put them into place.

  • Plot

    Here we’ll explore the overall structure of the driving action of your story, as well as the shape and placement of individual character arcs. We’ll also look at how to best pace the revelation of major truths and how to expand or condense the stages of your story (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement).

  • Structure

    We believe that how you tell your story is almost if not as important as the story itself. We’ll look at how subplots weave through and around your major plot and suggest structural changes that promote variety and tension, where appropriate. We’ll also include a proposed revised outline for you to reference as you continue to edit your story.

  • Chapters

    We also believe that, in general, each chapter ought to work well on it’s own in addition to serving a crucial role in the overall plot. We’ll take each chapter one by one and suggest ways to restructure, combine, split, or eliminate them.

Line edit

Once you’re happy with your story itself, it’s time to switch to a finer grain and make sure that your writing reads well on a paragraph-by-paragraph and line-by-line basis.

Our approach to a line edit is a little different from most other editors. We believe in teaching you the principles of craft rather than simply re-writing your story for you. We’ll do this by making deep edits to specific places in your manuscript, and rather than continuing to alter similar sections as the story continues, we’ll leave an in-line comment describing our reasoning. We’ll also make notes in your manuscript of places to apply that reasoning, so that you can focus on growing as a writer on your own.

Specifically, we’ll be looking at:

  • Paragraph structure

    The length and shape of your paragraphs can serve to heghten and sharpen the unfolding of your story's plot, and variation in sentence length can create a rhythm that helps your readers lose themselves in the world you’ve created. How this works will depend on things like genre and perspective, so we’ll spend some time making sure that the style of your writing supports your goals.

  • Sentence structure

    We’ll also help you look at your writing one line at a time. Unless your style has a unique focus on repurposing language, we’ll focus on finding the balance between clarity and originality.

  • Word choice

    When it comes to word choice, we prefer a more hands-off approach than most other editors. Instead, we’ll highlight words or phrases that we feel could use more consideration, especially when there is an opportunity to contribute to atmosphere and theme.

Request a sample

But perhaps it’s best just to see it in action. Send us a 500-word sample of your work, preferably from somewhere in the middle (that hasn’t been edited more thoroughly than the rest of your manuscript) and we’ll return a sample Line Edit for your consideration.

The proof is in the .pdf, after all.


Editorial assessment:

$0.012 per word

Developmental edit:

$0.024 per word

Line edit:

$0.022 per word

If you’d like an editorial assessment, developmental edit, or line edit, or if you’d just like to learn more, please use our contact form to get in touch!