Sophie Flack is an author, freelance writer and editor based in New York City, best known for her novel Bunheads (published 2011 by Little, Brown and Company). Prior to Sophie’s writing and editing career, Sophie danced with the New York City Ballet for nine years, and has a BA from Columbia University. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, O Magazine, The Weekly Standard, and Dance Magazine.
In addition to freelance writing and editing, Sophie is dedicated to working closely with vulnerable communities: in 2016 she worked in conjunction with the refugee resettlement agency Church World Service to provide social support to newly resettled Syrian refugees in Jersey City, NJ. In 2017 Sophie taught a writing course to survivors of domestic-violence and human trafficking at Sanctuary for Families.
My editing process is similar to how in-house editors operate. However, since each writer and project is unique, I offer a more collaborative approach, tailored to each client’s specific needs. Authors or agents usually contact me with a brief description of a project requiring a skilled editor. Not every project is a good fit, and I always make sure to be up-front if a writer would be better served elsewhere.
I am drawn to strong female voices, humorists, and female-humorists, but I’m perfectly capable of editing humorless male writers as well. I particularly enjoy working on memoir, essay collections, and commercial and literary fiction. Some of my favorite writers include: Jessi Klein, Una LaMarche, Nora Ephron, David Sedaris, Vladimir Nabokov, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austen.
My clients run the gamut: from debut novelists who need a skilled editor before approaching agents, to established authors with books already under contract. After failing to sell on its first offering, some clients are looking for a “Book Doctor”; others are referred by literary agents before they submit to the big publishing houses.
If I am interested in taking on a project, I often suggest that the author complete as much of the book as possible before we begin our working relationship, or I might give the writer specific “homework assignments” in order to get the most out of our time together.
Once a writer has a clear vision for her book or the manuscript is three-quarters completed, I give the manuscript a close read. Then I compose a comprehensive letter to share with the author, which typically includes:
Global manuscript analysis and impressions
What works and what doesn't
Structural and conceptual notes
Chapter by chapter notes
I prefer to review my letter in a face-to-face meeting, and together we make a plan for how to implement my suggestions. Depending on how much the author accomplishes, we either do another round of notes asking the author to do most of the heavy lifting, or I begin to narrow my focus down to the sentence level. For the remainder of our time together, I generally use Microsoft Word’s “track changes” for line edits, any remaining structural changes, and write notes in the margins.
As an editorial consultant I approach each project with the same dedication, care, and focus as if it were my own. My background in writing literary and dance criticism for various publications, my experience writing a novel, and teaching and mentoring in the non-profit world, make me one fierce ally to any writer.
published by Poppy / Little, Brown and Company
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and comlicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet. But, when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, her universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the more common freedoms of everyday life?
Praise For Bunheads
"A measured, vibrant, un-melodramatic account... with a lively cast of literary soloists and corps de novel who present possible ways to survive, or not, as a dancer. Even the ballet-neutral will understand the conflict between career and personal life explored here, but this book will be absolutely irresistible to those who've always felt just one pirouette and years of ferocious training away from Margot Fonteyn."
—BCCB (starred review)
"She [Flack] brilliantly captures the arc from soaring ballerina to exhausted dancer collapsing in a pool of sweat...details have been changed, but fans of ballet will
nonetheless relish the inside scoop. A multi-layered and absorbing good read by a promising debut novelist."
– Kirkus (starred review)
"At turns riveting, hilarious and bittersweet, Bunheads provides a backstage pass into the world of elite New York City ballet dancers. I got swept up in their routines and habits, their triumphs and disappointments, and their deep friendships, which thrive even in the face of fierce competition. This is at once a romantic page-turner and a thoughtful exploration of just how much true artists are willing to give up for their art."
― J. Courtney Sullivan,
New York Times bestselling author
“A wholly captivating book with a compelling female lead and an honest portrait of her struggle to succeed.”
(One of Best Young Adult Fiction Books for 2011, finalist)
"From the eyecatching cover-a kaleidoscopic overhead shot of tutu-clad ballet dancers-this first-person account of the difficult life a ballerina faces will enthrall readers."
"Readers, both dancers and "pedestrians" (the corps' term for nondancers), will find Hannah's struggle a gripping read."
"Flack has written Hannah's story with an insider's knowledge and expertise. The result is an entertaining read, shedding light on a world most readers know nothing about."