Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hi, I'm Stella and I'm an editing addict



So, you might now declare me officially mad, but it's true: I love editing. And I will even tell you why. 
Well, to begin with, I always loved helping people. Editing is basically helping writers or author see their manuscript from a different angle. Things they don't see, for they are too close to their books, will most certainly jump at me, in addition to others. 
Take my friend, for instance. He's an experienced and skilled writer, even had been published with a small press many moons ago, He's trying to land an agent and received many rejections. For he's too blind to see what's wrong, he turned to me. And because I'm a good friend, I helped him with one of the books. I'm harsh, I'm strict and I can be rather pushy, but he took it on the chin and reworked. We never 'worked' together and he was rather surprised how much I picked up; on voice, on pace, on character and plot inconsistencies. His words were, "I'm impressed, you really have a talent for editing."
Made me go all fuzzy, because it has just been a couple of years since I actually found my calling as an editor. Luckily, most of clients think the same, which is a good sign. Of course I made some mistakes by taking on clients who weren't 'ready' yet, but we all make mistakes and learn from them.

My friend was so taken, that he now has come back with the next book. Working with more seasoned writers has the advantage that you can dive straight in, they know the basics, they know the techniques, in short, they just need someone with a keen eye to do the dirty work for them. I rather enjoy that, and in addition, I get to read an exciting book. 

Working with new authors has its perks, too. I love to teach them the basics, to see them adopt the suggestions and slowly getting better; some take longer, some are quick to learn. It's wonderful to see them grow, their writing season and their confidence increase. Although it's often more difficult to edit a new writer's work; many are not used to be criticised and are hurt easily. In many cases, I will try to comment on the first few chapters to give them some sort of guidance so they can take the suggestions and rework their manuscript, learning as they go. A service, by the way, I'll offer soon: first 10k for a certain price and if the person doesn't feel confident enough after that, we can agree to do the whole book to a fixed price. Ideal for new writers who need a quick assessment of their skills. Some return with their revised version and it always makes me proud to see how much it has improved and that I was part of it.

As editor you are a teacher, a motivator, a bringer of bad news, a tough hand and often go out of your way to help the person whose book you are trusted with.

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