Generated at http://frabz.com/meme-generator/what-i-do/
I love these memes, don’t you?
A picture (or 6) is worth a thousand words.
What my friends think I do is study high-brow language, I’m fairly sure.
What my mom thought I did was hang out and read books.
My editorial clients think I’m the big blue monster, wielding a sword turning red as it slashes through their manuscripts.
Society thinks I grade papers.
I think I help save the day!
What I really do is, well, different.
Yes, I do wield a red pen. And yes, sometimes manuscripts return, as NY Times Bestselling novelist Mary B. Morrison states, “Dripping with red blood.”
But that’s just a piece of what I do. The actual editing is where we begin, but then we go far, far past that.
So, what does an real day look like?
My mornings begin with emails from clients. On any given day, I’ll hear from 2 or 3, as they’re sifting through revisions. Sometimes with specific questions, sometimes sending me passages or scenes to make sure they’re on track.
This is the coaching/mentoring part of the process, and we go back and forth for months, sometimes a year or more, as we fine tune the tools of great writing as that pertains to their very books. That’s where the richness of the learning process lies.
Writing well just isn’t learned in a vacuum.
I hear from others further down the road, as we go into the agenting part and beyond. We work on the query and synopsis and which agents to submit to. And then, if more than one offer arises, which agent best suits their needs.
Sometimes we sort through a publishing contract. While I’m not an agent, I’ve seen a bazillion contracts, and can identify what deviates from standard.
Next I’ll answer new editorial queries, explaining what I do. Going back and forth with a writer to see if we’re a fit. Whomever a writer works with editorially will have a big impact on his career—and we want that to be positive!
Then I’ll spend a bit perusing PW, seeing the latest industry news, noting what’s selling now, what sort of advances are given, which agent is doing what deal. It’s vital to keep up with market.
Once all that is complete, then I’ll dive into the manuscript at hand.
Which is quite the involved process, indeed.
I work on one manuscript at a time, giving it my full attention for, well, as long as it takes.
First, I read through it, making mental notes, in order to see where the story and characters go, how they get there, where they end up.
Then, I begin the editing, writing all over the pages—in the margins, between the lines, with longer examples on the back of the page. All the while, making notes in a notebook regarding style, voice, characterization, plotting and pacing, organization and structure, and everything associated with the manuscript itself.
Once I’m finished with the initial edit, then I go back and edit the first fifty pages or so—the set up, and what an agent and then publisher will see—to make sure the opening is perfect.
Then, I write up the critique—30 pages or so, which attends to all of those aspects, and the whole as well, correlated specifically to the pages.
Then it goes back to my writer. Once he’s had a chance to go over everything, we set up a phone chat, or go back and forth via email with any questions—whichever or both works best for him.
To become a great writer takes more than writing, studying, revising. It takes mentoring. And the more a writer bounces off of me, the better the skills are grasped and mastered.
Between projects I read newly published books, some touted, some not, to keep up with what’s being published, praised, or panned.
Of course then I converse with agents and speak at literary conferences. Just not on a daily basis J
And I also squeeze in penning the writing tips posted here, to help teach the elements of fiction and nonfiction.
So, yep, I do a lot of what others think I do. Just in a different manner from what they suspect!
What do you think an editor does?