Mentoring Authors One Scene at a Time – Thriller/Military/Non-Fiction/SF/Fantasy
To Retired SGM Randy Surles, whose work on this project cannot be overstated. You were at my shoulder every step of the way: writing, editing, troubleshooting. The Story Grid ought to be damn proud of what you brought to the party. Any warrior contemplating writing a book should make their first call to Randy Surles.
From the acknowledgements in Operation Pineapple Express by New York Bestselling Author Scott Mann.
“I had an idea for an inspiring story — basically a parable — that could really make a difference in people’s lives. A good friend told me about Randy Surles because he had worked with him as a certified StoryGrid editor. I didn’t want to write a good story. I wanted to write a great story. I’m happy to say that working with Randy has been a Godsend. He is highly skilled in story structure and knows how to build characters and a create a story flow that is inspiring and educational all wrapped up into a captivating story that you don’t want to end. But when it does end you walk away with greater insights and inspiration to bring into your own life. I’m happy to recommend Randy for anyone looking to tell a powerful story that is both fun to read and makes a difference with how you think.”
From the inside cover of my signed copy of The Wise Investor: Randy, Thank you for all your help in creating a beautiful and compelling story. Rich.
From the Acknowledgement Page of The Wise Investor: Massive thanks to you, Randy Surles, for helping me create a captivating, inspiring, and powerful story. And thank you for brining the talented Laura Graves into the process. The two of you were a joy to work with.
“After publishing more than 2 million words of fiction, I have worked with many editors in my time. Recently, on my newest novel, I had the great pleasure of working with Randy Surles. His knowledge, professionalism, and attention to detail were all superb. From the beginning, it was obvious that he had invested a lot of time in my manuscript. He identified my story issues and gave me clear steps to solve those problems and make the story work even better. More importantly, he got the story I was trying to tell and made suggestions while not imposing his ideas on me. He took the story structure he knows on a deep level and helped me make a more compelling story. I would highly recommend Randy as an editor.”
“From my first contact with Randy, he impressed me with his level of communication and enthusiasm to help.This is the first novel I’ve ever written, so I was apprehensive as to what benefit a diagnostic could have for my manuscript. However, thanks to him, I learned an extremely great deal in a very short amount of time. His analysis gave me direction for my next draft and cleared up a lot of confusion on how I could make my story better. No matter what level writer you are, or what place in your writing you are, if you think you need some direction, I would very much recommend reaching out to Randy. He is quick, highly detailed and most importantly, cares about your work.”
“Randy exceeded my expectations. The level of detail and analysis he provided me was tremendously helpful. He digested my manuscript so thoroughly that he was able to give me unique observations and suggestions that will enable me to greatly improve the story. In addition, he provided me a host of references and resources to better understand the writing process and my genre. I can’t recommend him enough.”
New York Bestseller Operation Pineapple Express
Identifying the 15 Core Scenes or Spine of a Novel -This is a live recording of an editing session I conducted with an author to help her create the main plot points of her story. Briauna gives about a 5 minute introduction and then plays our recorded session. We spoke for over two hours but she edited it down to 30 minutes. Google Podcast Link.
First Draft Edit: Aug 2019
“Randy Surles was fast, efficient, and gave me useful feedback. He was friendly, easy to work with, and when he showed me what didn’t work in the story, I didn’t feel like I was being berated for being a bad writer, nor did I feel like he was trying to show off that he knew more than I did about story writing – a problem I’ve consistently found with unprofessional’s giving me feedback on my writing. I left our last session excited to work on my story, not burdened with having so much to fix. The clear goal I have for my story is thanks to Randy’s help and I don’t know if I would have found it without his help. I’m seriously thinking of using his developmental editing services to develop my writing even more.”
Final Draft Edit: Aug 2020
‘…the greatest crossover readership for you though, is the fact that amidst all the dazzling technologies and the meticulously crafted time-travel plotting is that there’s a compelling central character who’s grappling with deeply emotional conflicts…‘
‘You’ve got imaginative concepts and arcing conflicts and characters here that will carry you through book after book. Your action is top-notch…‘
‘This well-plotted, structured, and peopled book was an enormous treat to read and will thrill science fiction fans and time travel aficionados.’
‘Time travel is a perennial favorite and this fresh, exciting, and original example of the genre does not disappoint.‘
“This is a sampling of the praise my book garnered from my publisher’s editor. None of this would have been possible without the help of Randy Surles. My book probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day without his help, guidance and formidable background in developmental editing. Randy helped me learn to write the right way, and turn what was a mess of a story into something to be proud of. I would gladly put my faith in his editing skills for all my future books.”
Gage Peters, Author of They Lurk in the Murk
“Simply put, Laura and Randy were terrific. Their suggestions during the plot development process were helpful, creative, detail oriented and well thought out. They seemed to be as invested in my story as I was and wanted to make it better. I’d highly recommend working with them.”
I Am Justice by D. P. Watkins
“I’ve gotten to know Randy over the past year as the editor of my novel. His patience and expertise have been immensely beneficial to me and the material. His approach is both tactical and strategic and he is ready and willing to dive into the mechanics of each scene to make them operate as efficiently as possible. His drive to make each scene work individually and as part of the larger whole has kept me on track as a writer. I wouldn’t be where I am today not for him.”