The first novel Isabella Blofeld ’19 edited this summer was a military fantasy by a man she found on the online forum Reddit. When he responded to her offer of assistance in early June, she hadn’t read anything like his story. Nor did she have any substantial editing experience, but she agreed to help.
“He was really good at writing action sequences, but the genre that he was working in was very much into worldbuilding,” Blofeld said. “He wanted his description to fit easier in the story.”
The novel was one of many pieces of writing Blofeld worked on for free during her summer. In total, she assisted five people with three full-length novels, a series of short plays and several unfinished fictional works.
Blofeld had planned to spend her summer interning with a professional author’s assistant, for whom she would have performed similar editing and promotional tasks. Blofeld declined to name the author’s assistant and, for reasons she also declined to disclose, the opportunity fell through before the summer.
“I was thinking, ok, I could just get a job at Starbucks or whatever,” she said. “Or I can try to do the things that I was anticipating doing.”
In May, Blofeld launched a website — the-authors-ally.com — to offer services ranging from book editing and research to promotion and design. She reached out to people through online writer forums.
Many people, it turned out, wanted an editor. By June, her first clients came in.
After the military fantasy, Blofeld turned her attention to a variety of other pieces, including a young adult drama about a group of magicians and a series of short plays about robots taking over the government.
Now back on campus, Blofeld has taken on a position as one of the web editors for HIKA, Kenyon’s oldest student literary journal. She may also continue her editing services in the future — this time at a price.
Blofeld believes the experience improved her communication skills and ability to work under deadline. In terms of writing itself, the experience taught her a lot about common beginner mistakes. “People always struggle with the same things,” she said. “It made me more aware.”