jillfelice: I prevail shamelessly upon friends, friends of friends, fellow writers, experts, and anybody who will hold still for questioning. And, hopefully Ambercon 2007.
pabba: Razorface actually gave me a really hard time. I'm still not sure I got him quite right. But I really, really tried.
And he's definitely many people's favorite character, second only to the cat.
There is a post here about how I "met" Razorface. I'd had the character name and some of the idea for him before then, but he didn't really click into the final form until that particular cold day. Some of the details of his life, outlook, and dialect come from a friend of mine, Ted, who worked at the Connecticut Prison Association for a good long time, and regaled us with many a tale. Ted had that gift some people have of getting other people, even not very nice ones, and he did a good job of making his clients come alive. Some other details come from growing up in a crappy neighborhood; I knew people more or less like him when I was a kid.
The bit about the big, tough gangster tapping the driver on the arm and saying, "Roll up the windows, man, it's Bridgeport?"
bonkabonka: Oh, god, I've never used a professional editing service. I am a member of a crit group, The Online Writing Workshop (aka The Orkshop), which I think, if you treat it immersively, blitz-fashion, can turn a talented amateur into a publishable neopro in under five years. (Critters is spoda be good, too and it's free, unlike the OWW, which is about fifty bucks a year.)
The thing is... becoming a better writer isn't about the manuscript. It's about the skill set behind the manuscript.
The best editor in the world can't turn an unpublishable manuscript into a good one. She might be able to turn a marginally publishable manuscript into a more publishable one, or a good one into a great one, however.
That said, there are some good people on my reading list, but I have no idea what their rates are or if they're taking clients. You could check with editrx, suricattus, and brisingamen. I believe dancinghorse was selling tutorials; she may still be. And Kathy Ptacek, novelist and market list maven, operates Little Bird Editorial Services. Her email is ptacek at mail dot com.