I've been editing and writing for publication for more than 30 years. After leaving Harvard, where I was a PhD candidate and published a couple of papers, I spent 8 years as a journalist on a small-town newspaper, learning how to write for the average reader, edit, and interview.
Since 1980, I've been a freelance editor, working on books in various fields. I prefer work in the life sciences, chemistry, and medicine, but I've edited books on wide-ranging topics, including:
- Accordion Man (autobiography of Myron Floren), Stephen Greene Press
- Conn's Current Therapy, W.B. Saunders
- Campbell's Urology, W.B. Saunders
- Introduction to Scientific Japanese, Alaken
- From Neuron to Brain, Sinauer Associates
- Electronics: Principles and Applications, McGraw-Hill
- Clathrochelates: Synthesis, Structure, and Properties, Elsevier
While at Harvard, I published a couple of papers myself. One (Becker GE, Pappenheimer AM Jr: Lyase activity of inducible S8-depolymerases from Bacillus palustris. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1966 Jun 29;121(2):343-8) is still on MedLine. Thus I can understand the needs of authors in the sciences and empathize with their problems.
I am especially strong in the following skills. I have an ability to:
- Understand complex material, especially in the life sciences
- Translate complex technical material into English that a lay reader can understand
- Simplify complex prose, which is always preferable even when the intended audience is scientific
- Put myself in the reader's place and question material that needs clarification
- See the core ideas in a piece of writing and help the author get rid of distracting prose so the core ideas stand out
I do not particularly enjoy proofreading.
Many authors have thanked me for my careful work. Following is a small sampling:
"Thank you for salvaging Chapters 4 and 5… I am grateful for your incisive criticisms and constructive comments in all chapters. You have an eye for the problems confronting a student." (The late Arthur Giese, Stanford University emeritus)
"The authors were extremely happy with your workparticularly XX, who's notoriously hard to please." (A note from Sinauer Associates)
"Our wonderful copyeditor, Gretchen Becker, saved us from some embarrassing errors." (David Golub and Douglas R. Green, in the preface to the 2nd edition of Immunology, a Synthesis. Sinauer Associate)
I prefer writing to editing, and I'm good at it (see comments on my Home page). I am currently involved in several major writing projects and am not actively seeking work at this time. However, if you have a project coming up that you think would benefit from my skills, please get in touch with me, and we could try to work something out.