Helen Fazal | Fiction editing and proofreading

Advanced Professional Member
Location KINGSBRIDGE, Devon
Mobile 07908 140975
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Substantive/developmental fiction editing, line editing, copy-editing, proofreading, rewriting, editing non-native English, competence in French 


Books, newsletters, websites


BA English Language and Literature, MA Librarianship and Information Science, Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) 


Editing with Word (CIEP) 2020, On-screen editing (SfEP) 2014, Mentoring scheme (SfEP) 2014, Proofreading problems (SfEP) 2012, Basic proofreading (PTC) 2012


Fiction (romance, thrillers, speculative fiction, historical fiction), memoirs, humanities (history, geography, travel guides, religious studies, philosophy, politics, psychology, political science, sociology), business (reports, websites, newsletters)


Helen has now edited and proofread eleven of my books, with the twelfth on the way very soon – she deserves a medal!
I write sci-fi and thrillers, and as a self-published author I have a fast turnaround, usually launching three books in a year. Helen is always able to accommodate this rate of production and does an excellent and thorough job on the edits every time.
It’s particularly important to me to feel supported in my work – not criticised – and I have found that Helen's feedback is always positive, well-targeted and respectful of the creative process. I have found her guidance and advice to be helpful, informative and educational.
I particularly like the creation of style guides as the project progress and the very useful alternative suggestions that I receive in my manuscripts - sometimes you just need that bit of help with a better way of phrasing things or an alternative word to use.
Having worked on so many books together, I really value Helen's contribution to my writing projects – we've worked through over half a million words together now.
So, if you need a great partner to work with you on your next book, I have no hesitation in recommending Helen.

Paul Teague, Sci-Fi & Thriller writer at https://paulteague.net/


I cannot recommend Helen highly enough. She has edited three of my books and has been a delight to work with. Helen is friendly and professional, with a strong, collaborative style. She is very supportive and never critical, but she does not shy away from providing effective challenge and guidance where it is needed. Helen has met every deadline and has always encouraged a healthy dialogue throughout the editorial process. The quality of her work is excellent and my writing has improved as a result of working with her. I can write a good story, Helen turns them into great books.

Rob Ashman, author of The Mechanic trilogy https://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/authors-1/2018/10/9/rob-ashman

How do you choose the best editor for your work when there are hundreds of highly skilled and experienced ones to choose from? How do you know who will genuinely edit your work with integrity and not regard it as yet another mundane work task? And who can you work with confidentially with ease and mutual trust without fear of criticism and judgment? 

I was in a predicament as these questions evolved part way through writing my debut book. Despite having never worked with an editor before something was telling me I needed one.

I stumbled across the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. I randomly wrote to many editors across the UK all with impressive CVs seemingly capable of editing a vast range of subjects. From those that took the time to reply, only one stood out and that was Helen Fazal. Unlike all the others, Helen’s response included the word ‘enjoy’. Helen would actually ‘enjoy’ editing my work. She was an obvious first choice.

Helen went on to edit my book. Throughout this 18-month period Helen demonstrated an impeccable work ethic. She works diligently and consistently, which enables her to meet deadlines whilst remaining calm and thoughtful. It was a collaborative partnership each respecting the other’s role and contributions. This was important to me as all too often power can interplay as one tries to dominate the other.

Not only did she show a skilled technical ability but also a deep intuitive way of understanding of what goes beyond the immediate and obvious. This would not be possible without being well read herself and open to the unconventional. Her skilled editing capability was reflected in her sensitive and conscientious improvements to the narrative (initially mine was particularly messy and rambling). My work was never undermined but transformed into text which was leaner, tighter and above all else true to the essence of what I wanted to create. 

There were times I became vulnerable and exhausted by the nature of my subject matter. Helen was able to respond by gentle decisive intervention, which enabled me to carry on. For this I will always be grateful.I doubt I would have completed nor published my book without the support given by Helen!

The book immediately went on to be published without the need for an agent. 

Mary Anne Willow, author of The Grace of a Nightingale


Helen has a happy knack of making you feel instantly at ease. So, when it comes to sending over your precious manuscript, or an initial sample, you’re calm and relaxed about it. When the manuscript/sample comes back, well, that’s when you realise just how good Helen is at what she does. She’s a professional, and now you are filled with newfound enthusiasm as you realise your work is about to be improved. She’ll file down the jaggedy bits, smooth off the rough edges and give it an all-over polish. Your manuscript will be left shiny and new and quite possibly as good as it can be. 
And so, may I humbly suggest, that if you’ve gotten far enough to be reading this, then your search is over – Helen is the one ...

Dave Alty, author of The Universe's Guide to a Perfect Life

Helen's friendly approach and professionalism in her proofreading and editing services made it a pleasure to work with her from the start. She provided helpful communication, comments and advice, kept on schedule, and most of all I was delighted with her work. She polished my text and improved its form beautifully without changing my style, even respecting the little plays I would have between languages – my mother tongue is French. I very much recommend her.

Virginie Bonfils Bedos, author of Gatekeepers

Helen has edited and proofread my first book, a romantic novel. My mother tongue is  French and I wanted the manuscript to be in perfect English.

Helen’s approach is professional, thorough and friendly, and working with her has been an enjoyable and educational experience. She was reassuring and encouraging. She has become my mentor!

I very much recommend Helen. I am so pleased with the outcome and I think I am lucky to have found someone like her. 

Dominique Douglas, author of The Man Who Played The Piano

Helen has now copy-edited five novels for us. Be it making suggestions, raising queries, or just dealing with ‘the boring bits’, her work shows imagination and understanding, while exercising painstaking care:  all in equal measure – exactly what all authors need to ensure their writing reads as well as (and sometimes better than) they intended. 

Tim Short, Bookprint Creative Services

I approached Helen in early 2018 about proofreading a near-final draft of my 105,000-word novel. From that initial enquiry onwards, Helen’s professionalism was obvious and exemplary. She responded promptly and, on the basis of some sample chapters she asked me to share with her, she explained clearly how she thought she could help.

What impressed me most was how Helen adapted her approach to the nature and demands of the project. Much more than a spell-checker, she worked through the manuscript with a fine discerning literary toothcomb, highlighting not only errors, transgressions and inconsistencies (kerb vs. curb!), but also stylistic points where the text might read better. She did all of this with great sensitivity to the overall tone of the novel, and I consider the exercise an investment rather than an overhead.

In short, I felt Helen cared about getting the words right. If this is also what you care about, I strongly recommend getting in contact with Helen.

M. J. Kentish, author of The Loss of Never Was

Helen did a terrific job of editing my memoir. She was thorough, came up with some excellent suggestions to improve the text, and was always contactable.

Greg Watts, author of Waiting for the Night Bus

Helen’s professional, open-minded and friendly attitude is a great help to me. I am a non-native English self-publishing author, which means I need trustworthy editing to give the best flow to my translated short stories in English. I am very satisfied with Helen’s work and I enjoy cooperating with her on a monthly basis. She is precise and has a sharp eye for mistakes. She is able to feel the style of the text, embraces even the most difficult sentence or strange metaphor and nicely polishes it by choosing the perfect word alternative. She is always flexible and gives fast and profound replies to any kind of questions. She never regrets spending as much time as needed to reach the best possible result in the editing process, while reliably keeping up with the agreed deadlines. Besides editing and proofreading, she offers the preparation of marketing materials on request, too. I personally like her voice in the summaries she writes for me, because she always highlights just the right essence of the story. Owing to Helen’s supportive approach, my knowledge of English language continuously improves. I highly recommend her services to anyone who wishes to receive high-quality work for a reasonable price.

Sofia Hamori, author of There's No Time

It was a pleasure working with Helen. We agreed a timeline up front and she stuck to that although asked for a little more time at the end to reflect on her work and see whether she had more to add or suggest. In addition to straightforward amendments incorporated in the document as Tracked Changes, she provided ‘bigger’ suggestions for strengthening or changing the flow or content to improve the quality of the work. In each of these cases, Helen made suggestions, often providing options for how that section might be reworded or adapted to get the message over with more power. As a result, I found improving the manuscript based on her comments very straightforward and enjoyable.

Toby Strauss, author of Castles in the Air, shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award 2021

After a good deal of research I chose Helen to pull together my completed manuscript prior to publishing. We exchanged emails on my requirements and after some good advice from Helen we concluded an approach to the work. What I particularly liked was that Helen read the manuscript in its entirety before making suggestions as to what level of editing was necessary.
Thereafter we agreed a contract and timetable. I was kept informed of progress and given some early chapters to see the type and nature of comments made. At the end of the process Helen provided a style guide, general notes on the edits made and two files: one with all the tracked changes accepted and the other with all changes visible. I was also impressed by her use of comments suggesting improvements that I might wish to consider. All in all very professional - thank you, Helen!

Don Smith, author of The Cause of Reason

After finishing my first novel, I'm so glad I found Helen and she was able to edit my book. Her feedback was very supportive and clear and she has an incredible eye for detail – I was truly amazed by her thoroughness; she picked up on things that had never occurred to me. Definitely a recommended and highly valued editor.

Victoria Holmes, author of Poptastic

I decided to ask Helen to edit my first ever travel guide, based on a recommendation from another author, and can highly recommend her too. Helen provides constructive advice in a friendly, supportive way and has great attention to detail, often suggesting improved ways of wording text or explaining concepts. Through her own interest in travel, she has a good understanding of what guides of this type set out to achieve. Throughout the editing process Helen kept me informed of progress with the added bonus of a style guide relating both to the subject matter of the book and more general grammatical points. In short, Helen does a highly professional job, on time, and in a friendly, helpful way.

Kevin Sene, author of The Mersey Estuary: A Travel Guide

I cannot recommend Helen highly enough. She is a consummate professional and brings a critical dimension to a writer's work. Her attention to detail is meticulous, whether fact checking or literary convention. She has an advanced reader's eye and understands the foundations of creative writing to be able to recommend improvements to prose and plot alike. I look forward to working in partnership with her again for my next book.

Sam Earner, author of Rothwell

I could never have appreciated when I began working with Helen what a transformational experience this would become. Not only has Helen helped streamline my debut novel, she has allowed me to grasp a new way of writing which is more direct, engaging and suits my chosen genre. Not only was Helen a rigorous and thorough editor, she was encouraging, supportive and proactive. After the long process of drafting and editing alone, working with Helen was a joy. Striking the perfect balance between challenging and retaining the author’s unique voice, Helen’s interventions improved my novel substantially and I am now confident to search for an agent knowing that the manuscript is in the best possible shape. Helen was a pleasure to work with from start to finish, so much so that my daughter will be sending her a manuscript to review later this year. I would recommend Helen without hesitation.

Kerry Cooper, author of Finding Vincent

Helen provided an excellent service for reviewing my university master's dissertation. She quickly understood the themes and context, and made many helpful suggestions for readability and structure. Her proofreading was very thorough and precise. She works quickly and with great sensitivity to her clients' needs.

David Stoyle, English literature master's student

Helen has the ability to see beyond the words and the sentences written down. I think that is her talent, she can read what we desperately want to communicate with our words but we fail. Then she magically puts it right, just exactly the way you wanted it, though it is still your very own unique voice. This would utterly astonish you. It is what makes her one of the best in this world of written words.

Helen’s instinct and her insight have been my unerring guide throughout the process right from our very first email exchange. Words cannot express my appreciation for her invaluable positive attitude and her encouragement. I would have not made it to the finish line without her continued support and her vision for my story. 

Helen’s approach throughout the process was professional, detailed, dedicated to excellence and super friendly, just like a writing partner right beside you all the way. A partner who gets you as well as your imagination for the characters and the story. She tamed me when I was going off the plot, and she pointed out where the plot was incomplete or needed more attention. She helped me write effortlessly with confidence and with so much more passion after I received her first edit. 

She was invested in my story and the characters and, given how many novels she reads and edits, that was impressive. It is a great deal of commitment. I was very lucky to find her. 

My story was far from a real work when I sent it to Helen for the first edit and the night I received the final edit, it was a captivating novel which I felt instantly in love with and read proudly all night long.

Anahid Golshan, author of Beautiful Rosi