Editor Spotlight – Wendy Reis

Bio: A late arrival on the professional scene, having edited casually for years while farming and raising children, I plunged into professional editing in 2006. I have edited novels, ad and web copy, business correspondence, and assisted with writing after dinner and political speeches as well as a report which was submitted to our provincial government.

(I can send you a one page document I call my condensed resume.)

I charge a flat $30 per hour for all services.

Strong suit is fiction, preference for historical tales, strong women characters. I shy away from anything sexually or violently explicit.

Most often do line editing, checking punctuation, spelling, grammar, sentence structure and clarity, style, continuity and consistency, trimming to make the writing tight, concise and smooth flowing.

Samples are available of published work upon receipt of authors’ permission. I am not asked as a rule.

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Slash and Burn a.k.a. The Cutting Room Floor 

“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille.”

If you are old enough to remember the world of celluloid you know that editing in film used to be more complicated than merely deleting scenes digitally. Film strips were literally cut and spliced. Directors knew what to cut, and they kept the pace of the flick ticking along. Writers and actors lamented that their best work frequently did not make it into the final cut.

If you aspire to be a writer there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Less is often more. Cut all unnecessary words. Cut, trim, then trim some more. Use long sentences broken up with short ones. Paragraph length should also vary.

Don’t attempt to impress your readers with your vocabulary. If they have to look up words they will lose interest. Keep it simple. Keep it effective.

Don’t date yourself or your work by using slang. It’s old before your book goes to print.

Be CONSISTENT. Edit for continuity. If she says something in chapter two that she contradicts in chapter six you either have a character who is unbalanced or dishonest, or you have a blooper.  Respect your readers. Assume they are intelligent. These things will not go unnoticed.

Edit, edit, re-edit. Rewrite. Redo. Your first draft is really just an outline. Know when the story is over. Also beware of ending abruptly. If you have a specific word count limit don’t meet it by a fizzling the climax. Don’t betray the trust of your audience. Respect, respect, respect.

Take pride in your work and believe in yourself.

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I realize that not every editor/proofreader is perfect for every writer. This is why I am presenting the series, Editor Spotlight. If you know an editor or proofreader who would like to participate, ask them to contact me at karenselliott AT midco DOT net. The Editor Spotlight series will be presented throughout the next several months in between my regular blog posts and special theme weeks. – Karen S. Elliott

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