I thought I was a freaky-good editor…until I met Shawn

After years of reading, writing, editing, proofreading, blogging, FBing, tweeting, attending conferences, taking classes at UNM and UCLA and online, I am ready to publish. Somebody, call the NY Times!

I will publish a collection of short stories and poetry under The Orangeberry Group umbrella.

I stress the importance of hiring an editor. I am taking my own advice. I hired an editor.

I hired Shawn MacKenzie.

Shawn and I have been chatting and blogging and emailing and FBing and commiserating and bitching and laughing on a very regular basis for quite some time.

As much as I love Shawn and what she recently inspired in me, this article is not about her (her links are at the end).

This article is about hiring a kick-butt editor. My editor happens to be Shawn MacKenzie.

I thought my writing was good. I’ve been writing long enough, it should be good, eh?

Shawn takes a story and looks at it front to back and then screams a 360. She slaps it upside the head and stomps on it with heavy boots.

With poetry, Shawn suggests a stronger word or a softer word; she suggests changes to improve cadence.

Shawn imagines scenery and offers additional hints to enhance the feeling. Check this out…I had a blood-spattered Georgia O’Keeffe painting in one scene, and Shawn suggested a Jackson Pollock in a subsequent scene. Brilliant!

Shawn offers suggestions on additional pronouns (to take away the human side of a despicable character), and she suggests a squeeze and a pinch to improve visual clarity to a story’s southwest landscape.

Shawn does not cringe at the details of my squishy horror story but instead asks, “When did she toss the leg?”

Geez oh man, she so gets me.

Shawn activates a vroom of ideas I would never have had without her.

She makes me reach for it.

Shawn is like the super-hero of editors.

She is editing this blog post in her head I’m sure.

Shawn MacKenzie

Shawn MacKenzie had her first Dragon encounter when she was four years old and happened upon a copy of The Dragon Green by J. Bissell-Thomas. That was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. A graduate of Bennington College, she’s a writer of sci-fi/fantasy and an editor of crossword puzzles. Her stories have been published in Southshire Pepper-Pot, 2010 Skyline Review, and as a winner of the 2010 Shires Press Award for Short Stories. Shawn is an avid student of myth, religion, philosophy, and animals, real and imaginary, great and small. Thoughts, writings, and ramblings can be found at her website, MacKenzie’s Dragon’s Nest or at her Dragon’s Nest blog.

MacKenzie’s The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook

Find Shawn’s latest book The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook on Amazon here or find it at Llewellyn.

Shawn’s stories on my blog –

December 25, 2011 – Of Avalon and mistletoe, a solstice carol

August 16, 2011 – Have you fed your Dragon today?


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Editor Spotlight, Uncategorized

18 responses to “I thought I was a freaky-good editor…until I met Shawn

  1. So glad you found each other. Sounds like a dynamic pairing. So excited for you, and kudos to MacKenzie for making ya stretch. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Karen. Now I just have to keep living up to them! >:-)

  3. Congrats on your publication! And it sounds you found the perfect editor. Very nice tribute!

  4. Congratulations Karen! The Orangeberry Group looks interesting and Shawn MacKenzie sounds like a writer’s dream!

  5. Even editors need an editor, and I am so pleased with the dynamic between Shawn and me. It works so well. And I’m learning a lot, too.

  6. Luckily I know, as my (few) non-writer friends do not, that I am an impassioned but mediocre editor at best, and I will always need to “pay for it.”

    Great post, Karen, makes me think in a fresh way about that last poem…

  7. Oh geez -and she has a couple of my already published books – I wonder what she’ll ‘notice’ – lawd! lawd! lawwdy be!

    Maybe she’ll just forget allll about being an editor, she’ll be so swept away by my awesomenessessss 😀 *laughing*

  8. Congratulations, Karen! Wishing you a ton of sales. I also believe everyone needs an editor, even editors and even best selling authors. It’s such an important relationship and when you find a good one, hang on to her/him.

  9. Abundant congratulations on your double-header news, Karen! Publication AND a rockin’ editor! How blessed you are. Where do I sign up?

  10. Thanks for all the comments, everyone! Yes, I’m blessed to have Shawn on my team! And I am very excited about finally (finally!!) getting a book together. 2012 is THE year. Kathryn – I don’t think you have anything to worry about!

  11. Oh wow! So excited for you! And about time, too 🙂 What a wonderful start to 2012. And I love it that you hired an editor – just proves the sort of person you are, Karen. Humble to the end 🙂

  12. Elizabeth Cottrell

    Kudos on the upcoming publication, Karen. Keep us posted!

    I so admire the way you shine spotlights on others for their good work. It inspires us all!

  13. What I like best about this post is that you have specific examples. You don’t just tell she is great, you tell me about the Pollock painting.

    No matter how great one is at editing–writer, never edit thyself. I mean, I can find so many mistakes/problems with student writing that I fail to find in my own.

    No one is above needing an editor either.

    Congratulations on publishing! Wahoo!!

  14. Pingback: Editor Spotlight – Shawn MacKENZIE | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

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