To The Last Word

My name is Gary Dalkin and I provide structural editing (sometimes known as substantive or developmental editing / manuscript critique or assessment) for writers. See why you need an expert opinion. I also offer other editing services and publishing advice for writers, as well as copy-editing and proofreading for non-technical college and university work. As a freelance writer I write mainly about the craft of writing, but also write about film and music, including articles, reviews and interviews.


Latest News


In May last year Adrian Besly set out to cycle around the world. He kept a diary along the way, and when he came back he wrote a book about his amazing adventures. And then I edited it, and I’m delighted to say that Do It – Cycling Around The World For A Laugh is published this week. A print edition will follow soon. Adrian really has a way with words, and the subtitle is entirely appropriate. Throwaway lines like ‘I have a photo in my wallet of my kids where my money used to be’ regularly made me laugh, and if you find that amusing then this book is for you. It’s not all fun though. Adrian came close to death on several occasions on some of the world’s most dangerous  roads and his journey ranges from the surreal to the frankly hair-raising. The Kindle version is available from 1 September in the UK (Do It) in the US (Do It), and at other Amazon sites around the world.

Do It - Cycling Around The World For A Laugh - Adrian Besly


I’m very excited to announce that one of my recent projects as an editor, The Conscript, the first volume of the adventures of Azi Garza, is out as an ebook over the next few days through Amazon (Kindle), iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play and Kobo. The print first edition will follow soon. The Conscript is the debut novel by American writer Nate Kirtis, and is the first of a Young Adult science fiction quartet. I thoroughly enjoyed working on The Conscript, and am intrigued to see what adventures await our hero over the rest of the series. The Kindle version is available right now, in the UK (The Conscript) and US (The Conscript). You can check Nate Kirtis out at his website, though first feast your eyes on the very striking cover.

The Conscript


The new, August issue of Writing Magazine, features my article on getting to the essence of your novel – ‘What’s It All About?’ The star interview is with award-winning poet and novelist Kei Miller, and there are features on Peter Breakspear and Jemma Wayne, while Sophie Beal explores the relationship between realism and fiction – ‘True Lies’.


August 2016 Writing Magazine, Kei Miller


The latest issue of ambitious new Science Fiction magazine Shoreline of Infinity is out now. Lead story is “Senseless” by Gary Gibson, while I interview multi-award winning authors Ken MacLeod and Tricia Sullivan. This issue also sees the debut of a new column by BSFA Award winner Ruth Booth.


Shoreline of Infinity 4


Literary Wonderlands, which I mentioned below and for which I wrote four chapters, now has a release date – 1 November – and a page on Here is the US cover.

Literary Wonderlands US hardcover


The June issue of Writing Magazine is out now, featuring the concluding part of my series on developing a five year writing plan.

Writing Magazine June 2016 - Hallie Rubenhold


I’m thrilled to announce that I am contributing four chapters to the book Literary Wonderlands. The book is being edited by Laura Miller (co-founder of, and contributors include Adam Roberts, Julia Eccleshare, Lev Grossman and Lisa Tuttle. The book is to be published by Elwin Street Productions this autumn. Literary Wonderlands will ‘trace the power of the written word to transport us from ordinary time and space to previously unimaginable new worlds, exploring the most fantastical, mysterious and awe-inspiring lands ever created in literary fiction.’ My chapters are on Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (JM Barrie), I, Robot (Isaac Asimov), Invisible Cities (Italo Calvino) and Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson). Here is a very rough promotional version of some possible cover artwork.

Literary Wonderlands pormo draught cover


Dead Leaves special edition I’m delighted to see that Dead Leaves, the new book by Andrew David Barker, for which I provided a developmental edit, has been declared runner up in the This Is Horror 2015 Awards for Best Novella. The book has received great reviews from The Eloquent Page, Mark West and James Everington.

Andrew was kind enough to say ‘Gary Dalkin’s work on my second book, Dead Leaves, was invaluable. He was precise, succinct, with a fine attention to detail. Dalkin guided my story to publication with fair and balanced criticisms and queries, and picked up on things I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed. In short, his sharp critical eye improved my words and my book. An excellent editor.’

Above is a photo of Boo Books beautiful limited edition, designed like a 1980s VHS tape. And here is an interview I did with Andrew last year.


Brief Bio

2016---10---Eowyn-Ivey-FINALI am a regular contributor to Writing Magazine, the UK’s best-selling magazine for writers. I edited the definitive biography of film composer John Barry – The Man With The Midas Touch by Gareth Bramley, Geoff Leonard and Peter Walker.

I have worked as a freelance writer, interviewer or editor for Amazon, BBC Magazines, Blackfish,, Gramophone, The Guardian, HMV, Interzone, London Symphony Orchestra, Naxos, Musicweb International, Los Angeles Review of Books, Northern Stage, Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, SFX and many others.

Among the people I have interviewed are Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Sophie Aldred, Nina Allan, Gerry Anderson, Kevin J. Anderson, Colin Baker, Andrew David Barker, Elmer Bernstein, Ed Bishop, Cory Doctorow, James Everington, George Fenton, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Robert Holdstock, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jonathan Oliver, Christopher Priest, Jordi Savall, Stephen Warbeck and Debbie Wiseman. (If there isn’t a link the interview was conducted for a print magazine or is no available on the website which commissioned it.)

 I am a former editor of Vector: The Critical Journal of the BSFA and a former judge of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.  I played a key role in the launch of the international New Media Writing Prize.

You can read more about my background and see a list of publications I have contributed to here.


 My Blogs

Visit my Last Word Blog or see my posts on Amazing Stories. For my latest news visit and ‘like’ To The Last Word on Facebook.


 My Services

Whatever your writing needs, drawing on my 20 years experience as a published writer and editor, I can help. I offer structural, (or substantive or developmental editing / manuscript critique or assessment), academic and general copy-editing and proofreading. I know writing inside out, and provide a friendly, reliable, honest service. I do all the work myself – no out-sourcing or passing work over to temps or unpaid interns – and I do so at competitive rates. I am neither the cheapest or the most expensive, but many satisfied clients tell me I am one of the best. Click here for more information about editing. Or here for my opinion as to why you would benefit from an expert opinion.



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phone – 07552 220438