/ ABOUT /

Milo Todd has seven years of experience as a freelance writer, editor, and manuscript consultant.

He specializes in LGBTQ content in both fiction and non-fiction, and additionally works as a sensitivity reader. His work has been shown on such sites as Everyday Feminism, Grub Writes, and Dead Darlings. He’s an alum of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator Program, where he worked as a Pechet Fellow on THE FALCON OF DOVES, a work of historical fiction following the lives of queer pirates.

/ SERVICES /

QUEER CHARACTER CONSULTATION

QUEER CHARACTER CONSULTATION

Includes a full read of your manuscript and a global letter highlighting your queer character’s accuracy, believability, and impact both within the confines of your story and in the hands of your readers.

Writing about a character with an identity that you don’t personally identify with is a heavy responsibility. And the bigger role your character plays in your story, the heavier that responsibility becomes.

Especially with queerness being so hip right now, media has exploded with plots and characters. Some stories have become fraught with LGBTQ characters struggling to find themselves, dealing with bigotry, or seeking love. And that kind of exposure can be a good thing. But many times, these stories are little more than attempts to capitalize on trauma- and inspiration-porn for the cishet* audience, thereby being churned out by cishet authors, proofed by cishet editors, represented by cishet agents, and printed by cishet publishers.

This can be damaging to LGBTQ readers of any age, as well as anybody outside of the spectra who hates, is afraid of, or otherwise just doesn’t understand such an awesome community.

* “Cishet” is slang for the cisgender/heterosexual community, for people who aren’t in the LGBTQ spectra.

MANUSCRIPT CONSULTATION

MANUSCRIPT CONSULTATION

Includes a full read of your manuscript and a global letter highlighting what’s working well in your story and which big items should be revised.

From wanting to self-publish to getting ready for agents, every serious writer needs professional feedback on their manuscript. Nothing’s more depressing than watching the plot of a book go to pieces when you’d already fallen in love with the concept.

Manuscript consultation with me includes a full read of your manuscript and a global letter highlighting what’s working well in your story and which big items should be revised.

COPYWRITING/COPYEDITING

COPYWRITING/COPYEDITING

Available to write and/or edit copy in one-time, short-term, or long-term bases. Expertise includes LGBTQ, intersectional, and sensitivity training topics.

I’ve had great success in my writing and editing careers, and am always welcome to new ways of doing what I love. I’m particularly experienced in writing on LGBTQ, intersectional, or sensitivity training topics.

However, while I’m willing to put in my two cents on representation of communities I don’t identify with, I will not write as your sole representative of a community I don’t identify with. If you’re looking for authentic, singular content regarding, say, PoC or people with a particular disability, I strongly encourage you to seek out a writer/editor who identifies with that particular community.

If you would like help in finding a writer who would better represent your needs, I highly endorse the writers here. They have a nice, long list of diversity and experience, and you’re likely to find a great match. I can’t guarantee any of them will be available for a project at any given time, but they’re nonetheless an excellent place to start.

QUERY LETTER CONSULTATION

QUERY LETTER CONSULTATION

Includes a full read of your current query letter with tips on what’s working and what could gain more interest from agents.

You could have the greatest manuscript known to humankind, but you’re not going to get anywhere if your query letter makes agents cry. Make no mistake, query letters are the worst thing in a writer’s world. I’ve never met an author who didn’t completely loathe them.

If you find yourself struggling with your query letter, a second pair of eyes can help. I can tell you what’s working, what isn’t, and provide some feedback that can help your letter stand out from the hundreds of others that hit an agent’s inbox daily.

TESTIMONIALS

"Milo's feedback on my work-in-progress was incredibly insightful, articulate and professional. His comments challenged my notion of the plot and characters, and forced me to think more deeply and critically about them."
“Milo Todd keeps up with the ever-changing world of politics (especially queer ones), with a knack for both how to affirm and when to interrogate. This, along with Milo's old-fashioned ability to turn a phrase, makes him an indispensable voice. I've had the privilege of reading Milo's fiction and having my own work critiqued by Milo, and in both cases I've experienced a coming-into-clarity of the counter narrative: more radical empathy, but less redemption; more honesty, but less consolation.”
“Milo is an excellent writer with a critical eye for editing. He is open and positive - a great person to work with!”
“Milo’s feedback is stellar.”
“With his editorial eye, Milo Todd brings a unique sensibility to a wide range of work—honing in on subtleties, strengths, and weak points quickly and concisely. His suggestions for improvement and clarity are delivered with honesty and always with sensitivity to the writer."
“Milo has the ability to spin believable characters that play with and within our diverse world.”
"Milo is a thoughtful editor. He isn't afraid to push you or ask questions that might challenge you. If you want an editor to pat you on the back and say "Good job," or to polish the surface of your writing, you could hire anyone. But if you want an editor who will spend time thinking about the impact of your words, point out your shortcomings, and help you find solutions, then you would be wise to hire Milo."
“It was a pleasure to work with Milo as we edited his essay for publication. He has a keen eye for the essence of a piece and how to prune the work so that the heart is revealed. I also deeply appreciate his voice as a writer - he's very much a valued contributor.”
"An incredibly talented and original writer, Milo is also an outstanding editor, offering insightful, helpful, and rigorous commentaries on our all manuscripts. In my own case, among other useful editorial advice, his thoughtful reading of the LGBTQ themes in my novel helped me consider ways I might expand them towards greater sensitivity and inclusivity. As a person, Milo is smart, funny, kind, encouraging, as well as highly responsible, knowledgeable, and professional. He reads all our work carefully and always with an eye towards helping us improve, is a great listener, and wonderful person to work with. I offer this testimony for him as first-rate writer, editor, and educator.”
“MILO = THE BEST”
"Milo proofread and edited the entrance essays that I am absolutely sure got me into nursing school. He gave me the competitive edge by crafting my thoughts into comprehensive and captivating works. He continued to be my personal editor throughout my time in academia, assisting with the vast majority of my papers. Additionally, he truly helped me improve my own writing through one-on-one read-throughs and editing sessions. If it weren't for him, I am not sure that I would be where I am today."

/ FAQ /

I want you to get the most from your consultation with me. In order to make that happen, I strongly encourage you review the following information before reaching out.

QUERY LETTER CONSULTATION

How can I save time and money before submitting to you for consultation?

If nothing else, I strongly encourage you to comb through every single post from Query Shark. Seriously. Every single post.

How much will this cost?

To get a basic idea, I encourage you to look at the market rates according to the Editorial Freelancers Association. If you have questions regarding your specific project, feel free to contact me!

MANUSCRIPT CONSULTATION

What do your manuscript consultations focus on?

I most often review and provide feedback on overarching manuscript themes, including: characterization, tension, voice, PoV, action, plot, structure, beginnings, and endings. If you have particular questions or concerns about your manuscript, feel free to reach out and I can let you know if it’s something I can do!

Do you edit?

No. Given my current workload, I’m unable to devote the time necessary for proper manuscript editing.

Can I have my queer character(s) consulted while my whole manuscript is being consulted?

Definitely! At an additional cost, I’ll look into both your queer character(s) and your manuscript as a whole. (Please note the addition to the fee is to compensate for the time it’ll take to write up the queer feedback in addition to the manuscript feedback.)

How can I save time and money before submitting to you for consultation?
Have a Complete Manuscript

It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many novice writers try to skip this step. Having anything less just wastes everyone’s time, and most consultants will simply reject it. Consultants need to have what you consider to be a full, complete picture of your story so they can provide you proper, accurate feedback on how to improve.

Grab Beta Readers

If you’re new to the feedback game, I strongly suggest you get at least five friends and/or family members you can trust to read your entire manuscript with the ultimate intent to give you constructive criticism on how to improve. (Note: Some people prefer complete strangers to give them constructive criticism, but it’s ultimately your call. Just keep in mind that it can be much harder to get someone to read your work for free when you don’t know the person at all. Be prepared to pay them a suitable rate.)

The reason for beta readers is two-fold: 1) it’ll help you see where you need to work on your writing even before a consultant gets to it, and 2) it’ll help you learn how to take criticism on the chin. Learning how to take criticism is particularly important to your editorial arsenal, for no consultant worth their salt is going to just pat you on the head. Learn how to get excited about the idea of massive editorial changes! This stuff’s fun!

Edit

Try to put your entire manuscript through the ringer at least twice before starting to seek paid consultation. Rip it apart. Show it no mercy. If there’s something you love in your work, kill it just for the sake of killing it. Practice cutting away every part of your story you can while still keeping a basic, coherent storyline. And once you and your manuscript are both crying, start to build it back up into something you feel works. Don’t be afraid to experiment! There’s really nothing to lose.

Polish

While it’s awesome you successfully completed NaNoWriMo, that doesn’t mean you can (or, at least, you shouldn’t) call it a day and send your work over to a consultant. While I’m happy to consult on manuscripts at any level of preparedness, please know you’re going to be forking over way more cash in the long run for a polished draft than if you’d started polishing it on your own.

How much will this cost?

To get a basic idea, I encourage you to look at the market rates according to the Editorial Freelancers Association. If you have questions regarding your specific project, feel free to contact me!

QUEER CHARACTER CONSULTATION

I'm adding a queer character out of the goodness of my heart and with the best of intentions. Why should I have to get somebody's blessing to move forward?

To quote an African proverb: “Until the tale of the hunt is told by the lion, the story will always glorify the hunter.”

You, as a person with straight/cisgender/monoamorous/whatever privilege, have an obligation. You have a responsibility. When you talk, you talk from your position of power over those who don’t fall into the mainstream categories. And when you have so much power to wield, the results can be incredibly damaging, even when you have the best of intentions.

This damage can be expressed in all sorts of ways by authors outside of the fold, from overarching themes of stereotype and hate to something as simple as subconscious word choice. Not to mention the simple fact that you don’t know what you don’t know.

Stereotyped or single-storied writing is also, to be quite frank, just a plain lazy way of going about your craft. If you’re unable to provide the care and empathy necessary for a true-to-life queer character (see below in “How can I save time and money before submitting to you for consultation?”), then I strongly encourage you to remove that character entirely. If that messes with your plot, then change that part of the plot. If that queer character was the focal point of your entire book, then write a new book.

I can’t stress this enough.

My queer character is also another marginalized identity (e.g., black). Can I still submit to you?

You can definitely still submit to me! However, please know that I identify as white. While I’ve schooled myself—both professionally and casually—for years on the theory and lived experiences of others, that doesn’t make me your one-stop shop. While I’m happy to help consult, I still strongly encourage you to seek the counseling of others that more accurately fit your character’s identity. (However, when dealing with an intersectional character, keep in mind that, say, queer consultation + Black consultation does not equal Black queer consultation. A Black queer identity isn’t simply the pairing of a white queer identity with a Black cishet identity. Like any intersectionality, Black queerness is its own awesome thing and should be consulted accordingly.)

I don't have a queer character, but I do have a marginalized character (e.g., black). Can I still submit to you?

Please contact me with your character’s identity specifics and I can look into it. Depending on the marginalization and to what degree this character plays a role in your story, I may be able to help. However, there are some projects I wouldn’t feel comfortable with if the character’s identity is very far out from my own knowledge and/or the character is very prominent in your story. (And even if we’d move ahead with consultation, I would still encourage you to additionally seek the counseling of a knowledgeable writer with that identity.)

I don't actually have a completed manuscript yet. Can I still get your feedback?

Definitely. Please contact me with a scene-by-scene breakdown of your planned manuscript. (Please note I won’t read partial manuscripts because they won’t give me the whole picture.) Also include any and all questions/concerns you have about your queer character.

I don't even have a scene-by-scene outline yet. Can I still talk with you and ask questions?

I highly encourage you to see “How can I save time and money before submitting to you for consultation?” farther below to help you scheme up an awesome queer character.

I'm in the spectra myself. Can I still submit to you?

Of course! If you’re looking for an extra opinion or don’t specifically identify with the type of queer identity you’re writing about, I’m always happy to take a look.

Can I have my queer character(s) consulted while my whole manuscript is being consulted?

You betcha. At an additional cost, I’ll look into both your queer character(s) and your manuscript as a whole. (Please note the addition to the fee is to compensate for the time it’ll take to write up the manuscript feedback along with the queer feedback.)

How can I save time and money before submitting to you for consultation?
Become an Ally

This is a taller order than some people may realize. An ally is someone who is actively involved in the politics of an identity outside of their own in ways that attempt to promote real, positive change.

To be an ally, you need to be thrilled we exist. You need to celebrate us and our differences. You need to be there for us when we need your support, and know when to be respectfully silent when we’re speaking on our own topics (especially in our own spaces). You need to know how to treat our spaces with respect and know when it’s better to not come to those spaces at all. You need to speak up and call out people you overhear slurring us—even if they’re family or your good friends. You need to school yourself on queer history, queer politics, and queer laws.

You get the idea. Becoming an ally will slowly create empathy in you about queer lives, and in turn will strengthen your writing.

Research

I strongly suggest at least one month be dedicated to researching everything you can find about your topic or character before you write them. This includes everything from their cultural background to their history to their current-day lifestyle and political issues. This research is important even if it’s never intended to show up in your novel. To truly write your character, you have to truly empathize with them (see above). And to truly empathize with them, you need to know as much about them as possible.

Imagine Writing Your Character in Different Time Periods

Sure, your character may be pitted in the 1920s, but what about other times in history? What would their life have been like in the late 1500s? The early 1700s? The present day? Two hundred years in the future? How would you portray your character in each of these scenarios? By doing this, you’ll have a better understanding of your character through the way their history, their ancestors, and their enemies shaped them into what they are today (see above).

Get Feedback

Just as important as researching your character’s identity is receiving feedback from readers who identify with your character. Ask trusted friends or an online writing group to please read your manuscript for any red flags on your given character. Be ready to compensate them in some way for their time and generosity, whether it be money, pizza, or an exchange of writing services. Don’t stop at just one reader; aim for at least five (bonus points if they vary in their other walks of life, such as their economic status, relationship status, health status, age, geographical location, and personal history with violence and other related factors). Every LGBTQ person is unique in their own way—even as an LGBTQ person—and so they’ll each have something a little different to contribute. No solitary LGBTQ person is the infallible master for all other LGBTQ people’s feelings and lives.

Listen

I’m sure you have great ideas. I’m sure you have wonderful ideas. I’m sure your ideas were carefully selected and pieced together with the best of intentions. But just because you think or want your character to be a certain way (or go through certain things) doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

If the information you research or the beta readers of your character’s identity say that something is grossly wrong, incorrect, or just plain offensive, then you need to seriously consider making those changes. Remember, the mark of a great writer is to be a great editor; someone who is willing to rip up their manuscript in order to create something better.

How much will this cost?

To get a basic idea, I encourage you to look at the market rates according to the Editorial Freelancers Association. If you have questions regarding your specific project, feel free to contact me!

/ CONTACT /