“I love working with writers of both fiction and non-fiction and look forward to many more years of editing.”
Chuck has worked in publishing for most of his adult life, although he began work in New York City as a lawyer before realizing he was not suited for that profession. Taking an entry-level job at Holt, Rinehart & Winston, he worked his way through production and the business side of publishing before shifting to the position of managing editor at Macmillan, then moving to Dell/Delacorte in the same job.
It was there he began taking editorial assignments and eventually became a senior editor. After 12 years at Dell, he was hired as senior editor at Simon & Schuster, later becoming vice president and senior editor.
After 15 years there, he became an executive editor at Algonquin Books and worked there for 17 years before retiring from full-time employment at the end of 2020. In 2013, Chuck was presented with Poets & Writers Magazine’s annual Editor’s Award, which each year recognizes one editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time.
During the years he worked as editor, he had the great experience of being involved with close to 100 New York Times bestsellers, working with many celebrities editing the memoirs of Neil Simon, Charlton Heston, Cher, Esther Williams, Larry Hagman, Carol Channing, Faye Dunaway, Tab Hunter, Maureen O’Hara, as well as bestselling authors Mary Higgins Clark, James Lee Burke, Clive Cussler, Sandra Brown, Joseph Heller, Jackie Collins, Tayari Jones, and Sara Gruen.
And, of course, there were many, many other writers whose books he edited that were critically successful but which did not achieve “bestseller” status.
“I love helping people tell their stories.”
As a newspaper journalist, Duncan dreamed of editing and publishing books so he made that happen by accepting a position as acquisitions editor at Algonquin Books where he edited some of the company’s most successful, bestselling books in both fiction and nonfiction.
Later, as a freelance editor, he edited New York Times bestselling novels published by Warner, Grand Central, and Thomas Nelson. Along the way he developed a life as a ghostwriter and has ghostwritten three books and two New York Times bestsellers.
In addition to fiction, Murrell has worked with authors and publishers on books of journalism, history, science, art, and music. For five years he was the director of the writing program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where he taught editing, publishing, and writing for undergraduates and graduate students. He now leads creative writing workshops for war veterans through the Voices From War project.
Murrell is also a freelance writer and is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and The Oxford American magazine, and has written for the Huffington Post Highline, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Men’s Health, and Our State magazines, to name a few.
“Writing has complemented my editing career by giving me an intimate experience of the writer’s process and struggles. As an editor, this experience has forced me to develop empathy and patience to go with clear-eyed, exacting editing.”
His work as a fiction editor was expanded and deepened by earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing from Bennington College, and his subsequent publishing of short fiction in Guernica and other magazines.
“I’m the sort of editor who dives deep into manuscripts and ignores nothing. I don’t skim, I don’t take shortcuts, and every mark or comment I make on a manuscript has been carefully written for that book and that author.”
In addition to being a long-time developmental editor, Murrell trained formally as a copyeditor and graduate of the U.C. Berkeley program in copyediting. Grammar and usage are just as much a concern for him as plot and characterization.
- Developmental editing
- Editorial evaluation
- Book coaching
- Ghostwriting and book doctoring
- Line editing
- Narrative nonfiction
- Biographies and memoirs
- Literary fiction (novels and short stories)
- Science fiction and fantasy
- Fitness and health books, especially books on running and strength training
- Academic works of history, political science, and sociology