Pacific Literary Arts
editing and epublishing services
helping writers flourish and finish
Michael Presky, Proprietor

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image of painting
Rembrandt van Rijn, Old Woman Reading

Welcome Writers
I'm a freelance editor, been doing it for years, since 2003. I'm really good at it. Wander the site to find about my services and explore things literary.

Especially enjoy the photos and paintings, mostly of girls and women reading, a favorite theme of mine, and pictures of some of my favorite writers. I'm a painter and writer myself.

I'm just going to dive in with a bit by Hemingway, a master writer reflecting on his art, and then some editing tips. You might also note the many excellent reviews scattered about.

All you have to do is
write one true sentence
"Because of the change in altitude I did not notice the grade of the hills except with pleasure, and the climb up to the top floor of the hotel where I worked in a room that looked across all the roofs and the chimneys of the high hill of the quarter, was a pleasure. The fireplace drew well in the room and it was warm and pleasant to work. I brought mandarines and roasted chestnuts to the room in paper packets and peeled and ate the small tangerine-like oranges and threw their skins and spat their seeds in the fire when I ate them and roasted chestnuts when I was hungry. I was always hungry with the walking and the cold and the working. Up in the room I had a bottle of kirsch that we had brought back from the mountains and I took a drink of kirsch when I would get toward the end of a story or toward the end of the day's work. When I was through working for the day I put away the notebook, or the paper, in the drawer of the table and put any mandarines that were left in my pocket. They would freeze if they were left in the room at night.

"It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I'd had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.

"It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious mind would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it. Going down the stairs when I had worked well, and that needed luck as well as discipline, was a wonderful feeling and I was free then to walk anywhere in Paris.

"If I walked down by different streets to the Jardin du Luxembourg in the afternoon I could walk through the gardens and then go to the Musee du Luxembourg where the great paintings were that have now mostly been transferred to the Louvre and the Jeu de Paume. I went there nearly every day for the Cezannes and to see the Manets and the Monets and the other Impressionists that I had first come to know about in the Art Institute at Chicago. I was learning something from the painting of Cezanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them. I was learning very much from him but I was not articulate enough to explain it to anyone. Besides it was a secret."

                -- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Some Editing Tips
You may very well have already written your one true sentence. It's just buried somewhere, in the middle of some paragraph, probably at the end. Often in the second or third paragraph, or maybe even the conclusion; people often take a while to get to saying what they want to say.

An interesting suggestion from Hemingway: stop writing while you still have something to say. "I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day." Counter-intuitive and somewhat paradoxical--most people would presume you keep writing as long as you have anything to say.

"Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline." Good idea. You could also write about each person you've known or every place you've been. Or food and music, always interesting to readers. Better yet, cooks and musicians, write about people, more interesting to writers.

Keep the reader in mind. Self indulgence is for the reader, not the writer. Remember your audience. You're not writing for ALL readers, just a particular group. This particular site is wordy which the experts all say is not good on the web... but it's directed at writers, who like to read. (It's the most convenient way of avoiding writing and they can claim it's research.)

Walk the streets like Hemingway did and look at paintings and listen to music and talk to people, observe their habits and the ways they speak and find out what's important to them. Try not to drink too much though, like he maybe did, not a good idea, no, not a good idea at all, at least not until you're rich and famous and it doesn't matter anymore, you could write crap and people would buy it.

Best tip is just to hire me to edit it ;)

image of painting
Robert Heinlein

Client Reviews
There are reviews of my work from some of my clients over the years scattered throughout the site, and a whole page of them here. Here are some of my favorites.

Mike, You rock so hard, so brutally, and with such magnificence, my heart is moved to the beat of your footfalls. That is just how much I appreciate you.

James Crawford
, Virginia, author of the Bloodsoaked series.

Michael Presky is a pleasure to work with. He is consistent, reliable and professional. If you give him a deadline, he meets it. He is an expert in APA editing which was required for my school journals, research papers and extensive notes. We have worked together for many years. He understands complex grading rubrics and would give feedback on how to improve, encouraging me to rewrite areas in my paper that were weak. I owe my consistent grades of "A" to him. I have recommended him to fellow advanced practice nursing students who were also pleased with his service. It is hard to find an editor who understands graduate level work. He is a jewel and I highly recommend him.

Wendy Piper, RN, BSN, MSN
Advanced Practice Nurse
Los Angeles, California

Mike is an amazing editor. He worked on my novel (over 100,000 words so it was no easy feat) and made it better than I could have ever hoped for. He found errors I overlooked, placed the correct commas and punctuation where it needed to go and made the flow of my writing that much better. I cannot recommend him enough. This is my first experience with any editor and I'm happy I chose Mike.

If you are worried believe me that Mike is your go-to guy, even if your work is a novel and not an academic project. He emailed me back always within a day, and finished my entire novel in less than a couple months. He offered advice, two versions of my novel (one edited and one where he shows the edits) and is exceptional at making sure you, as a customer, are satisfied. Thanks Mike, I will be coming back to you for all my other novels. Oh and to the people wondering, the price was extremely fair.

Alyssa L., June 9, 2016

Mike just finished editing my dissertation, a job that I dramatically underestimated! Running short on time, and drained from the typical dissertation runaround, I finally sought help in getting through editing and formatting. Mike worked so hard for me, finding more errors than I care to admit! He did a fantastic job with my reference list, which was improperly formatted, and often missing the doi for my articles. He cross checked his work with the guidelines from my school (Capella University), and worked to ensure he had things formatted to their specifications.

Communication with Mike was smooth and easy from the get go. He responded to all my emails very quickly, usually within hours, but not longer than a day. He even worked on the weekend to get my edits completed for me! There were a few points when we needed to make some additional changes, and all that was accomplished seamlessly.

Mike finished his work for me in a short period of time and for a very reasonable price.

Most importantly, once Mike was through with his edits, my dissertation was approved with no further edits needed!

I whole-heartedly recommend Mike for anyone looking for an honest, hard-working, easy going, meticulous editor. A million thanks to you, Mike!

Julie H., March 1, 2015

I've worked with Michael for over 3-4 years now, and all I can say is that he is the BEST!! He edited several of my nursing research papers and various written projects. I like the fact that he was always flexible, prompt, proficient, and HONEST. Awesome work, Michael! Thank you so much!! This is legit post from a real client.

Liza J. Coe, MPH, MSN, CPNP
Los Angeles, California

image of painting
Jane Austen

Pacific Literary Arts
Michael Presky
presky @ yahoo dot com
310 384 0590 : voice or text

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