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Nicola Aquino

Spit & Polish Editing

Antigonish, NS


  • President's Award (2021)

Editors Canada Volunteer Participation

  • Conference (2019)


Self-publishing fiction authors: let me help you polish your manuscript. As a developmental editor I can provide fresh eyes and a reader perspective to uncover issues that might jar readers out of your story. I have completed the Professional Editing Standards Certificate from Queen’s University and can help your story shine by:

  • Identifying plot holes and providing ideas for transition scenes to fill them.
  • Pinpointing timeline inconsistencies and suggesting ways to correct them.
  • Improving pacing by recommending adjustments to sentence and paragraph length.
  • Pruning wordiness to improve clarity.
  • Enhancing description and world building, if needed.
  • Creating a style sheet to ensure spelling consistency—especially of character and place names.

A developmental edit happens relatively early in the editing process and combines structural and stylistic editing. I provide both in-manuscript suggestions, using Track Changes and comment boxes, and a detailed report of items that need work, along with the style sheet that can (and should) be shared with subsequent editors or proofreaders.

I also offer a professional Beta Reader service, primarily designed for first-time authors with limited budgets. Feedback from family and friends can only go so far—and often isn’t as honest and complete as you need. I bring my editor’s eye to a read-through of your manuscript and provide a report highlighting areas that need work and detailing what is already working.

Whether doing a beta read or a full developmental edit, I only work on one book manuscript at a time, as I like to stay focussed on the story. I strive to provide alternatives that fit with the voice and style of your manuscript. Sometimes percolation time, which often happens while I knit or cross-stitch, is required to formulate options; scheduling time for this rumination has become an important part of my editing process.

I have been a bookworm all my life. While my first love as a reader is fantasy, followed closely by science fiction, I am open to editing any genre of fiction except horror and erotica. I use my background in science (M.Sc. in Microbiology) to ensure that the real world aspects of your story are sound.

Editorial Skills

  • Developmental or project editing
  • Structural and substantive editing
  • Stylistic editing


  • Books, children's and young adult
  • Books, self-published
  • Fiction