April, it was Woodstock, where I fell in love with John Elder Robinson and frightened Comma Queen Mary Norris with my rabid adoration of her grammatical perfection.
July in Portland, Oregon, workshopping new work on our family legacy of truth, lies, facts, and fiction with Michelle Tea.
August means three days in Lancaster, Pennsylvania surrounded by nonfiction writers, the brilliance of Mary Karr, the sharp wit and fab scarves of Jamie Brickhouse, and before I leave, some Dutch Haven Shoo-fly Pie. (There is still time to sign up, and enough pie for everyone.)
And later in August, halfway around the world, twenty-two hours on a plane and across the dateline with BFF rockstareditor/knitter/feminist pundit Debbie Stoller to New Zealand for the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival. I’ll be on a panel of sex worker writers, in case you happen to be in the area.
You Maybe this is your first draft, or maybe you’re ready to send your words out into the world. Novels to nonfiction, whatever you’re writing—you need a second pair of eyes to catch what you’ve seen so often you can’t even see it anymore. I offer standard services and then some: spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice, consistency, brevity, sentence structure, basic logic, and clarity.
Today, I’m the in-house editor for Midnight Heat Books, but I’ve worked for magazines including High Times, VIBE, Ski, Motorboating, and BUST for more than 20 years. I’ve written small business training manuals and user manuals for proprietary software, managed social media campaigns, created newsletter and website content, and been responsible for proofreading sales, marketing, and collateral documents. I recently finished collaborating with an indie film director on a television pilot. I produce quizzes, articles, and stories for print and online magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, Playgirl, BUST, xoJane, and The Fix, and my essays and nonfiction can be found in a number of anthologies.
My BA is in English Language Arts, and I hold an MFA in creative writing, with an emphasis on nonfiction. For several years, I was involved as a mentor and tutor working with inmates through the PEN Prison Writing Program. Today, I advise creative writing seminars specializing in memoir for one of the country’s top-rated MFA programs, as well as adult learning programs.
I’m familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Stylebook, and The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage.
Do You Need a Developmental/Line Editor or a Copy Editor? In a nutshell, a general or developmental editor can help you tell a better story. A copy editor makes sure your grammar and punctuation are correct.
Scenario A) You’ve worked hard on that first draft, and now you need a second pair of eyes.
A developmental editor looks at the big picture, pointing out where there are questions about plot, motivation, redundancy, or pacing. (S)he can make suggestions to improve the way a document sounds, correcting content-related issues like word choice, sentence structure, flow, style, and tone as well as plot, dialogue, and characterization, or structure, strength of argument, and clarity.
Scenario B) Okay, now you’ve been over a dozen times, edited it, and you’re ready to send your words and your hard work out into the world.
Copyediting is checking for flaws on a technical level and it requires an understanding of the rules of standard English usage. This is the final polish.
• Correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting
• Confirming consistency spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization
• Performing a final fact-check, if necessary
• Checking for internal consistency and continuity in plot, setting, and character.
How Will This Work?
Send me a brief summary of your goals, timeline, and status of your project—there’s a form below to make it easy. I’ll get back to you asap, answering any questions, and asking a few of my own.
You’ll send your project to me in Microsoft Word, GoogleDocs, or Final Draft.
After a quick review, I’ll give you an estimate of what I think we need to do, how long it will take, and what it should cost. I ask for a 50% deposit for new clients. Payments are made via PayPal.
On our agreed due date, if not earlier, you will receive a memo with both general feedback and specific notes, and the edited manuscript.
You can follow-up via email or phone with any questions or clarifications
How Will You Know What I’ve Changed?
I leave comments and suggestions in the margins and record all changes and corrections using Microsoft Word’s track changes feature, GoogleDocs editing suggestion feature, or Final Draft’s revision mode feature. You can spot the changes I’ve made and maintain complete control over any changes in the final product. Here’s a quick tutorial on using the track changes function.
original unedited text
edited & notated using tracking
How Much Will This Cost?
Developmental editing is $6.00/pg (8 pgs at $45/hr)
Copy editing is $3.50/pg (10 pgs at $35/hr)
Telephone and Skype sessions (45 minutes) are available at an hourly rate.
Please note: Rates are calculated with the assumption of the industry standard of 250 words/page, double-spaced, 12 pt Times or Times New Roman font.
Still, if the anthology doesn’t offend you at one point or another, it’s probably not doing its job. And that is absolutely fine, considering that it contains so much great writing.…Jodi Sh. Doff, in “Lele,” shows that she can get a whole world – the world of “the pre-Disney Times Square topless business” – across in a few pages, or even a few sentences: a stripper is stabbed by her husband, while she dances; the bartender wipes blood off the bottles and keeps serving.
The common allegation against radical feminists is that they cast all sex workers as victims, regardless of what sex workers themselves say about that; the common allegation against sex-positive feminists is that they insist on seeing everything in terms of sunshine and sparkles and empowerment, even when the facts are brutal. This book is what it is – and it is excellent – because it explicitly rejects party lines.
“Lele,” a piece by Jodi Sh. Doff, who “grew up in the suburbs as someone else entirely,” recalls Henry Miller’s in-your-face exposition. She tells of a night at Diamond Lil’s on Canal Street, where “Viva’s sitting onstage, legs spread wide.” While her customer is buried and busy, she holds a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other, and chitchats with a girlfriend about another girlfriend. “Every two minutes or so Viva taps him on the head and he hands her a 20 from a stack of bills he’s holding, never looking up.” We see in this wonderful set piece the whole money/sex connection enacted with raw charm and an immediacy that reaches far beyond this strip club, as the man’s stack of 20s, one by one, becomes hers. Multitasking Viva holds them “folded lengthwise in her cigarette hand.”
Chicago Now : Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tale of two cities: Sex Worker Literati / By Anna Pulley
The sex industry is often glamorized (like the new HBO series “Hung”) or villainized (by many). Rarely is there any in-between on what the sex industry actually looks like, so it was fascinating to see the scope of performances [at Sex Worker Literati, a new reading and performance series hosted on the first Thursday of the month in New York City’s SoHo district], the wildly different experiences and the inspirational messages that sprang forth from each of the performers….The humorous requests and political gripes were tempered by Jodi Sh. Doff, who read a beautiful, heart-breaking piece about a 15-year-old stripper, once vibrant and innocent, claimed by what she referred to as “the machine” – the underworld of drugs, sex and violence in the 80s, where one’s own survival outweighed all else.
New York Press Review :Tuesday, August 11, 2009 The Happy Hook Book /Sex workers spill the beans in smart new anthology / By Gerry Visco
“At a packed house at Happy Ending, former stripper and prostitute Jodi Sh. Doff, reminds us that she worked during an era when the term “sex worker” hadn’t yet been invented. Her writing is hardboiled; Diamond Lil’s on Canal Street “stinks of stale beer, cheap whisky, smoke and cunt.” Doff recounts the tragedy of the brutal murder of Lele, a beautiful young stripper she worked with at a topless bar in “the Deuce,” as 42nd Street used to be known pre-Disney. It was an abandoned, litter-choked lot, full of “dog shit, broken bottles, neon, used condoms, freaks, vermin, predators.” Ah, the good old days.“
Over 50 women contribute to this engaging collection of essays, fiction, and poetry exploring childlessness. American Book Review editor Ratner (The Lion’s Share, 1991, etc.) proposes to discuss and legitimize alternatives to motherhood through the work of outstanding female writers. While the expected topics of abortion and infertility are central here, dozens of less-discussed scenarios of choice and circumstance are explored as well. In Jodi Sh. Doff’s “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Off” a young woman, afraid she has inherited her father’s abusive tendencies, chooses hysterectomy. …The collection does not want for depth or imagination, and its sprawling content helps shape a topic defined in name only by absence. An intricate and important anthology, ultimately using childlessness to develop a study of art, female identity, and self-understanding.
One Pill or Twelve Steps / The Fix Putting down the drink? Hell, we’d put down that drink every time we passed out. Drugs like naltrexone might help with the first part of that standard AA chant: Don’t Drink. Go to Meetings. Help Another Alcoholic, but what do we do about the living life part? continue…
The Hangover Club / The Fix
The medical community will dry you out, detox you, and lately, it seems, they’ve jumped on the “if you can’t cure them, cash in” party bus. All of these “morning-after instant Dr. Feelgood IV cures” remove what generations of evolution built in for our own good: consequences. continue…
For the Rest of Us / The Fix
Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead. It’s always a shock when a celebrated entertainer dies, but a celebrity death due to drug abuse should not be any sadder than that of an unknown junkie. Artistic talent does not make a life any more valuable, continue…
The Mouse, Her Kid, and Me / Drafthorse Literary Journal
Some things you remember even the bad parts being good. Heroin is like that, for one example. The Mouse for another. She looks the same, thinner, but tough. Still tough. Dark, gorgeous, hard. You could easily imagine her pulling a gun on you. It’s no strain to imagine her using it to shoot you. continue…
Don’t Be That Guy / BUST
No means no. Really? Okay, so what about when she doesn’t say no? What about when she doesn’t say anything? That’s a loophole, right? It’s a get out of jail free card, isn’t it? continue…
I heard this one day, driving in my car, listing to WFUV, and I wanted to hear it again, and again, and again. And then I realized, although Greg Brown had never heard of me, and although that moment was the first time I’d heard of him, he’d written the theme song to my life. This is more Greg Brown loveliness to be found…
Jodi Sh. Doff is a New York-based writer, editor, and photographer. Her work frequently includes autobiographical elements of drug-use, alcoholism, and the strip clubs and nightlife of New York City’s Times Square. As part of the harm-reduction/street-outreach movement, she educated and advocated for active addicts and street prostitutes, while working towards the decriminalization of prostitution. Chicago Now declared her stories about “the underworld of drugs, sex and violence in the 80s” to be “heartbreaking” and the New York Times Book Review compared her prose to that of Henry Miller.
Her stories have appeared in O, the Oprah Magazine; drafthorse literary journal, The Fix, xoJane, Penthouse, Playgirl, Cosmopolitan, and Bust Magazine, and have been anthologized alongside Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates in the anthology Bearing Life–Women’s Writings On Childlessness.Other anthologies include Best American Erotica; The Bust Guide To A New Girl Order; the awkwardly titled Hos, Hookers, Callgirls & Rentboys and its equally awkwardly titled sequel, Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chickenhawks.
She’s made regular appearances as part of theSex Worker Literati Reading Series; appeared back on stage, albeit fully-clothed, in New York’s firstSex Worker Cabaret at the infamous Slipper Room; been a featured guest on Sex and Politics (Brooklyn College radio); the KGB Radio Hour with Ratso Sloman and Mark Jacobson; In Bed with Susie Bright (audible.com); Minx on Pseudo.com, and was profiled–as alter-ego Scarlett Fever–by author Lily Burana in her book, Strip City.
She has studied with the late Spalding Gray, Virginia Woolf scholar Louise DeSalvo, playwright Gretchen Cryer, author and Rumpus founder Stephen Elliott, and graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College with a B.A. in English in one hand and a Phi Beta Kappa key in the other. Jodi has been a mentor with the PEN America Prison Writing Program, and was awarded an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Lesley University where she currently advises a graduate seminar in the art of memoir.
Her memoir is currently seeking representation.
NYC 1975: So, a nice Jewish girl walks into a topless bar—152 cases of vodka, 147 men, 10 years, 2 dead bodies & 1 broken heart later, she walks out.
WHAT I DID FOR LOVE looks at the lies we tell ourselves in order to be in the world–a coming-of-age story about the search for truth, love, and family in the go-go bars of Times Square at the height of its bottom, the 70s and 80s. Sometimes, the outsider subculture of Times Square would provide the community and safety I craved. Sometimes, dissociation, denial, and vodka were all I needed to get through a life where I was concurrently visible & invisible, singular & replaceable.