The Writer-Editor Project III

DSC02458The Writer-Editor Project III

My first post in the series, for writers, you can see here.

My second post in the series, for editors, you can see here.

You might wonder…

What’s she getting at?

What I’m getting at

Is a way to find a good editor (for writers), ways to find good clients (for freelance editors), for us to find each other, open up the conversation, share ideas and perspectives.

For writers and editors –

Was your writer/editor relationship planned? Serendipity? Assigned?

How do you feel about your best writer/editor relationship? Or what sort of relationship would you like to have if you had a writer/editor relationship?

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9 Comments

Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Special Events

9 responses to “The Writer-Editor Project III

  1. Finding the right editor is huge. For me it isn’t a matter of seeing a pretty red pencil and handing over my precious pages. I self-edit to the point of my head exploding, but even then, know a book isn’t *finished* until it’s been edited by someone who isn’t me. And I want that person to be a perfect fit–to not just see words on a page,but also the worlds and characters that live there.

    A perfect writer/editor relationship is a business connection, yes, but something far deeper. It is essential that an editor understand and click with the writers voice. A great editor isn’t just looking for a job–they’re building a relationship, It’s essential for an editor to be are confident in their abilities, honest even if painful, nit picky in such a way that no error is too minor to mention.

    • karenrsanderson

      A business connection, yes, but deeper. How true that is, Barbara. I like how you said “characters that LIVE there.” That is so true, that the characters have to live in a reader’s mind. And honest and painful at times, yes, it’s that too. I’ve had it both ways – having painful comments given to me, and having to hand out honest, nit-picky to a writer. Thank you for your comments.

  2. My writer/editor relationship with you, Karen, was serendipity — I was feeling the need for a second pair of eyes to keep me from making embarrassing mistakes in my blog posts. You and I were in a group (LinkedIn, I believe), and I reached out to you to inquire about how you worked. Little did I know how much value you would bring in making me see my own writing more critically.

    I can imagine that a fiction writer’s relationship with his/her editor could be fraught with even more potential challenges than I might have with an editor since I only write non-fiction. My fiction-writing friends tell me their characters are part of them and there is an emotional attachment to their characters and their plot. That would, I think, make it harder for them to be able to accept constructive criticism as easily.

    My experience, thankfully, has been that you, Karen, have made me much more aware of the bad writing habits I have, and by questioning me when you didn’t understand something I’d written, I was given the chance to make it clearer and stronger before it went public. You also were happy for me to push back if I had a reason to override your suggestion.

    Bottom line for a non-fiction writer/editor relationship, appreciation for each other’s skills and the mature give and take between two professionals are what constitute a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.

    • karenrsanderson

      Thank you for your comments, Elizabeth. I feel a little blush. 🙂
      You mentioned bad habits. I had so many of my own, I didn’t notice them until I started to point out bad habits of others. Being an editor has made me a better writer. And talking and blogging and emailing with other editors has also made me stronger. I expect writers to push back every so often – after all, it’s YOUR piece/novel/short story. You have the final say in how it’s presented.

  3. Bonnie Culver

    The books I write are for children. They are varied in the age group and genre. Finding an editor in most cases was serendipity. Only one was recommended, which didn’t work as well. My best relationship was with an editor that seemed to immediately understand what I was going for, and she had awesome suggestions for plumping out the characters without changing the story-line. I felt we were a team and she really wanted the story to be the best it could be. Mutual respect and a similar sense of humor was the key.
    Bonnie

    • karenrsanderson

      Even recommendations don’t work out all the time. That’s why I stress every writer should try numerous editors until they find the right one. It’s not like you can Google “editor” and bam! “Team” – another good word! And I like that you added “sense of humor” – how true!

  4. A little late to the conversation, but….as a writer, I was fortunate to be assigned an excellent editor at Llewellyn. 99% of the time, Nicole and I were on the exact same page. She got my humor and perspective and actually enjoyed the fact that I am an occasionally “difficult” writer (in the sense of asking much from my readers, not difficult to work with 🙂 ). I am also part of a great writers’ group with whom I trust my work implicitly. [Rule of thumb on writers’ groups: surround yourself by writers who work differently than you – in different genres, styles, voices – and who are as good as or, better yet, better than you. It’s the best way to improve.]
    As an editor – my connections have been rather serendipitous, and usually enjoyable. (Thank you, Karen!) Word of mouth is a great way to at least initiate a writer/editor relationship, and with blogs and social/professional sites, the growing networks out there are invaluable. Of course, after that first introduction, it’s all a matter of whether or not you click. An ideal editor/writer relationship is professional, yes, but it goes deeper, esp. when working on fiction or poetry (no offense intended to non-fiction writers). While not a strictly collaborative endeavor it is a creative one. Never work with family! Or someone who thinks they are god’s gift to the literary canon. Or a combination of both. Makes for major misunderstandings, fireside arguments, and unnecessary stress. I don’t expect all my editing suggestions to make it into someone’s work but if someone asks/pays for my expertise, then ideally they should at least listen before rejecting comments out of hand. (Sorry, bit of a rant there. Chalk it up to cabin fever. 🙂 )

  5. karenrsanderson

    You are fortunate that Llewellyn assigned such a great editor. And I know what you mean about your “difficult” writing – I have my dictionary at the ready whenever I’ve read your books. But I’ve increased my vocabulary because of you. Humor! Such a good thing to have between writer and editor. You are also fortunate to have a great writers’ group. I wish I could find such an animal. Yes, I hardly remember now how you and I found each other (I know it was LI, but don’t remember the details). And now we are friends, fellow editors, and YOU are my editor of choice! You make me sing! I have had two of the best writer/editor relationships recently – one a non-fiction (also from LI), and we clicked right away. The other, a blog follower who, when we started to exchange emails, realized we were meant for each other – we are working together now. Yes, if a writer is paying for the services, they should listen, consider, chew on, all comments. Late to the party or not, your comments are always warmly welcomed, Shawn.
    Cabin fever. I can dig it. I’m in North Dakota.

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