“Will is the smartest, kindest, funniest editor I’ve ever worked with. Everything he touches gets better.” — Erin McGraw, author of two novels and three collections, whose stories have appeared in The Atlantic, One Story, Story, and elsewhere

“Will is the smartest, kindest, funniest editor I’ve ever worked with. Everything he touches gets better.” — Erin McGraw, author of two novels and three collections, whose stories have appeared in The Atlantic, One Story, Story, and elsewhere

Manuscript Editing & Critiques

Since 1996, I’ve worked as an editor for award-winning literary magazines, for book publishers, and with private clients. I specialize in novels, novellas, short stories, story collections, memoirs, and personal essays. If you would like help with your writing, please contact me  for more information.

Editorial Philosophy

I have two goals as an editor: to help improve the manuscript while respecting the author’s vision and sensibility, and to help authors become better editors of their own work. I enjoy working with authors who seek honest, rigorous feedback and who are able to set aside their ego for the sake of their manuscripts. I don’t think of myself as a manuscript “fixer” but rather as an author’s collaborator, coach, or teacher.


“Will read, in two short days, my entire unpublished collection, picked out my least favorite story, insisted it was good, and soon edited it artfully for One Story. It later became the first debut story to lead the Pushcart Prize in the anthology’s then 39 years. One is in the best hands with Will. He is a magic-worker, a literary midwife. I owe him everything.”

–Emma Duffy-Comparone, author of Love Like That: Stories

“I was fortunate to take Will’s One Story editing class and then to work with him one on one. He’s a fantastic developmental editor who helped me revise a story collection that sold within days of going on the market and a novel that was immediately accepted by my publisher. He is brilliant when it comes to deepening characters and enlivening plots. His suggestions for improving dialogue are unmatched. I often find myself repeating to other writers wisdom that I took away from my work with Will.”

–R.L. Maizes, author of the novel Other People’s Pets and the story collection We Love Anderson Cooper

“I’ve worked with probably a couple of hundred American book and magazine editors over the last thirty years, and Will Allison holds his place in a group of five that shows grace, style, tact, and knowledge when working with manuscripts. Will possesses a rare ability to understand where a story or novel should go, and which route’s best for the writer to take.”

–George Singleton, author of seven story collections, two novels, and an instructional book on writing fiction

“I was so fortunate to have Will edit my short-story manuscript. His talents were a total game changer and made all the difference in the world. After years of being rejected, my manuscript was accepted for publication within months of my working with Will. Not only does he possess excellent, high-caliber editing skills and intelligence about storytelling, but he is also an extremely gifted teacher. I felt like I gained new insight into the art of short-story writing through his thoughtful comments and feedback. It was like being in a private workshop—so much more than just an extra set of eyes on my work. He is also funny, kind, encouraging, and a total pleasure to work with.”

–Susan Buttenwieser, author of We Were Lucky with the Rain

“Will Allison was my editor at One Story, and he also picked me out of the slush for Story many years prior. Will gave me some of the most thorough, intelligent, and respectful editing I’ve ever experienced. He made both stories stronger, line by line. As a brilliant writer himself, he’s able to understand writers and come up with creative solutions to difficult narrative problems. Without a doubt, Will is one of the finest editors I’ve ever had the pure pleasure of working with.”

–Erika Krouse, author of the memoir Tell Me Everything, the novel Contenders, and the story collection Come Up and See Me Sometime

“Working with Will was a great pleasure. He is a careful and thoughtful editor whose goal is to make the story the best it can be. Will was the first to champion my work. Since then, I have published multiple pieces, completed an MFA, written a collection of short stories, and published a novel. I wouldn’t be where I am without Will.”

–Laura Spence-Ash, author of Beyond That, The Sea: A Novel

“I feel so fortunate to have had Will Allison edit my stories. He pays very careful attention to line edits, removing every unnecessary word and phrase. He has a keen eye for staging and a great sense of narrative structure. His Track Changes were colorfully plentiful on my pages, and I was grateful for each thoughtful comment. I highly recommend Will as both editor and writer.”

–Donna Baier Stein, author of the novel The Silver Baron’s Wife and the story collections Scenes from the HeartlandSympathetic People, and Letting Rain Have Its Say

“I worked with Will on my second collection of short stories, and his commentary was extremely insightful and comprehensive. I highly recommend him as an editor! Worth every penny!”

–Kelly Fordon, author of Garden for the Blind, a Michigan Notable Book, ForeWord Review Finalist, Midwest Book Award Finalist, and IPPY award winner

“I met Will at a pivotal time in my writing career. In addition to my MFA, I had numerous publications in literary journals, and I’d won both a prestigious fellowship and a respected fiction award. Despite this success, I couldn’t get traction on pulling my work together into longer pieces, taking that ‘next step’ on my writing path. Will’s excellent editorial guidance helped shape both my linked story collection and my novel. His edits were both specific and big picture, with suggestions on improving my work on a sentence level as well as insight on character, structure, and, yes, plot! After working with Will, I felt like not only had his suggestions improved my work, but I had a few more tools in my writer’s toolbox. Plus he’s friendly and easy to work with. Hiring Will for an editorial reading is now a planned stage of my novel, and I anticipate that seeking his expert advice will continue to be part of my long-term strategy as a writer.”

–Jennifer Kircher Carr, author of the forthcoming novel In the Off Season and curator at WordTango.com