Cally Worden - Fiction editor and proofreader for independent authors

Professional Member
Location Retford, Nottinghamshire, UK
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Mobile 07762 013 758
Twitter @CallyWorden
Facebook /CallyWordenEditor

How I can help

Fiction editing for independent writers

I’m Cally Worden, and I’m a professional fiction editor. I work with independent authors and use a range of smart editorial strategies to help them create seamless, engaging stories – with no distractions.

You know what I mean. Those things that can slip past you when you're so close to your own words, such as inconsistencies in your plot, characterisation or dialogue. And pesky errors in spelling and grammar.

These are distractions - some big, some small - that interfere with the flow of your story. All good writers get them. The best know that editing is essential if you are to catch and correct such errors, and keep readers turning the pages.

I edit in many genres, but have a particular passion for, and expertise in, mysteries, thrillers, crime and suspense stories. Here's a flavour of some of the novels I've worked on recently:


Why work with me?

I know what good writing looks like, and how to create it. I’m trained in journalism, have worked as a freelance writer, and I have both fiction and non-fiction writing published on the web, in national glossies, and with traditional publishers.

Words have always been my thing, and I can help you make yours stand out from the rest by working with you to eliminate those little errors that can make a big difference.

I can bring fresh eyes to your story. Expert, trained eyes that will spot things your weary writer gaze may gloss over out of sheer familiarity with your material.

And I promise to be gentle with your words, and to respect your authorial voice. Because I’m a writer too, so I understand how important these things are to you.

If you'd like to know more, please do get in touch - I'd love to hear your story.

Editing services

I offer four types of service, covering a broad range of editorial needs:

1: Manuscript critique - a big picture review of your novel presented in an in-depth Editorial Report

2: Developmental editing - also known as substantive or structural editing. I work with you to understand your goals for your novel, then conduct a deep macro-level review of the content and offer detailed solutions and suggestions for how it could be improved, with worked examples on key sections of your text

3: Line and copy-editing - ranging from light to heavy, depending on your needs. This is sentence level work concerned with readability and flow, and the mechanics of grammar and punctuation

4: Proof editing and proofreading -  your final pre-publication check for any remaining issues

In practice, the lines between services 3. and 4. often become blurred. And that's okay. Your editorial needs are unique - there is no magic one-size-fits-all editorial forumula.

You receive whichever service or blend of services is the best fit for your story as it stands. And we work that out together.

You can find full details of all my services on my website.

Writing services

It can be deeply challenging to step back from the detail of your novel and create succinct copy that conveys the essence of your entire story.

As a seasoned writer with editorial experience, I can offer two types of writing service:

1: Back cover copy - also called 'jacket blurb'

2: Synopsis - a very specific piece of writing that is designed to catch the attention of agents of publishers

Both are easy to describe, but require skill and great care to craft well. Let me help you with that.

Qualifications and training

Professional affiliations

  • Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)
  • Partner Member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)
  • Member of the Association of Independent Publishing Professionals (AIPP)



  • Basic Proofreading - Publishing Training Centre
  • Basic Copy-editing - Publishing Training Centre
  • Start Fiction Editing - Sophie Playle & Karen Marston
  • Developmental Editing: Fiction Theory - Sophie Playle



  • Proofreading Practice - Margaret Aherne
  • Essential Grammar - Publishing Training Centre
  • Digital Skills - Publishing Training Centre
  • Using PerfectIt (Basic and Advanced) - Cadman Training Services
  • Editing in Word 2016 - Adrienne Montgomerie
  • Ninja Writing - Shani Raja


Other qualifications

  • First Class Degree in Media Practices - Journalism Specialism 
  • Distinction in HND Business and Finance


Cally’s input on my debut novel was invaluable. One of the key distinctive features of my work is the narrator’s voice, and Cally has suggested changes which maintain the voice but improve readability. More importantly, her input has presented a fresh professional perspective on the already refined manuscript - it has helped me develop the work beyond the scope I was capable of alone, and with more than thirty beta readers. Her attention to detail and command of the technical aspects of writing are the most advanced I’ve encountered, and her thorough grasp of the key components of storytelling is evident. Commissioning Cally to edit my novel was definitely money well spent.

Jameel Sandham, independent author

Cally has been absolutely fantastic to work with, and after going through some issues with other editors it was a dream to find her. She is supportive, positive and a master of her craft. She takes time and care to truly understand the work and give her all to your project. I highly recommend Cally and Enigma for all of your editorial needs.

Scott Bidmead, independent author

Cally Worden worked for me as a proofreader in November 2018, reading and correcting the manuscript for my first novel, The Pendant Sapphire, which weighed in at 65,000 words.

Cally was absolutely first-class. She went beyond her proofreading brief where apprpriate, making helpful comments on both style and context. And her proofreading alone turned up large numbers of grammatical and spelling errors. The corrections were simply laid out and she made all sorts of assumptions about what I would like, all of which were spot-on and in keeping with the voice and style of my writing.

As this was my first creative writing effort, I had numerous simple questions, all of which were answered rapidly and helpfully. 

I can recommend Cally without hesitation and will be using her services again.

Robin Vicary, independent author

Cally Worden is an exceptional proofreader and editor.  Her services are forensic and her reports detailed and very helpful.  She is everything that both the aspiring new novelist and the more capable/experienced author require.  I have written a few books, both from the academic and creative fiction genres, and the services of a good proofreader are essential for these works.  I suffer from dyslexia and I have to have implicit trust in the person that I give my MS to – I wish I had found Cally ten years ago!

Cally has been wonderful.  She has read the work with great care and with a brief to keep the flow and style.  All corrections have been meticulous and sensitive.  She has been more than an editor - she has been a critical-friend throughout the whole process without becoming patronising.  She sets out her contract clearly and she delivers the final edited work with a full report, on time and to a pre-agreed fee.

I can honestly say that Cally is brilliant.  I have total faith in her skills and abilities and I have complete confidence in delivering all of my future works into her capable hands.  Look no further, you have found the one you are looking for.

Jean Debney, independent author

I engaged Cally in July 2017 to help with the editing and proofreading of my first novel, The Coal Boat. I really didn't know what to expect, and felt a little like a child submitting homework for marking. I needn't have worried: engaging Cally turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. She was everything I'd hoped for in an editor and more, giving enthusiastic and genuine moral support but also not being afraid to challenge and point out deficiencies (but suggest improvements) where she found them. She then engaged in a second round of proofreading and also worked on the synopsis and blurb for me. Cally delivered over and above what I ever could have expected from her, and The Coal Boat is an immeasurably better book as a result. Thank you, Cally!

Sam Kirk, independent author

It’s very difficult to know where to start in my efforts to convey the many attributes Cally possesses. Taken together they ensured I was provided with an exceptional service in her extremely capable hands.

As she took hold of the editing reins – of a memoir involving the sensitive subject of multiple death – her natural ability to empathise repeatedly led me to a space in which we could discuss openly and honestly how the words being written could do justice to the story being told. Her keen and sensitive engagement with the book, demonstrated with regular emails full of observations / suggestions and guidance, created an environment and platform from which both myself and my story could naturally grow. Alongside her warmth and humility sits a razor sharp and focused mind. Her methodology in assessing the manuscript was clear, her attention to the editing detail forensic and rigorous, and her professionalism a beacon of excellence throughout. I simply couldn’t have arrived at a finer door.

Finally, there are editors who provide a functional no-frills service, and then there is Cally. Hers a truly holistic approach in which her generosity in time, spirit and emotion are boundless.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend such an outstanding editor.

Jill Barnes, independent author

Cally’s input went beyond my expectations. She paid fastidious attention to detail, delivering a copy-editing service that focussed on clarity throughout my novel, she provided suggested changes to explain her points constructively, and she ensured consistency in terms of characterisation, timeline and settings. What is most impressive is that Cally acknowledged my writing style and allowed it to shine through - except where it clashed with clarity and flow. She stuck to the agreed schedule, delivering quality work on time. I plan to use Cally’s services again.

Michael Gallagher, independent author

Cally undertook a thorough copy-edit of my manuscript. The work was completed on time and I was more than happy with her thoughtful feedback and suggestions. Cally is helpful, professional, and easy to correspond with. Definitely recommended.

Bronwen Griffiths, independent author

I was delighted with the proofreading service I received from Cally. From the first point of contact Cally was very professional and friendly to work with. Her proofreading was so thorough. All work undertaken was clearly communicated so I was aware of all the changes being made to my work. It was reassuring to have a proofreader who is clearly so hard working. All work was timetabled at the beginning stages of the proofreading service and work was consistently punctually returned to me. Writing does not also go to plan, but Cally was flexible and able to accommodate some changes in my own timetable of work. I would not hesitate in recommending Cally’s proofreading services. 

Laura Bracey, thesis author

Cally edited my manuscript precisely and on time.

I swiftly came to fully trust her input as she soon identified what my needs were as a new writer. She handled my work with professionalism and plenty of well-placed encouragement. 

The quality of the finished manuscript certainly helped raise my confidence when dealing with my publisher.

Andrew Ziminski, publishing traditionally

Cally provided proofreading of my fiction manuscript. I'd happily recommend Cally to anyone looking for a proofreader or editor. She was very friendly, helpful, and accommodating. She responded promptly to my emails with clear explanations when necessary, and her work was very thorough and professional. Overall the process was very smooth, and I'd happily work with Cally again in the future.

M. Holmes, independent author

Cally did a terrific job for me, exactly what I needed. Thank you so much, Cally - I look forward to working with you again on Book 2!

Deirdre Connolly, independent author

Very impressed, and wish to say again what a marvellous job you have done. Having now read through it in detail I realise what a difference you have made, thanks again.

K. W. Traynor, independent author