First date with an editor - Pownal Street Press

First date with an editor

Pownal St. Press

/ 1 min read

First, there is creation. A writer’s process brings induction, introduction, and installation. Words and sentences spill out of you and onto the page. This drafting is a soul nourishing activity: fluid and untempered. However your words arrive, they are there. And while yes, the words are there, they often ramp up and down, they stilt, they tilt. Passages and transitions bring us from one place, and down stairs as the geography of your story changes. Sometimes there is darkness. Sometimes there is light.

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ─ Terry Prachett

Next, there is revision. Passing your work along to anyone, especially for the first time, can be nerve wracking. The winds of change are in the air and a certain amount of nervous tension is totally normal. But your story is there, and it’s waiting to be the best version of itself it can be. You’ve bought the ticket, and decided where you’re going. 

An editor’s job is to meet you at the train station. We are going somewhere together. We meet, we talk, we get to know one another. I get a sense of what you’re trying to say, and then I read your words to see if your message is coming through.

Editing is us talking to each other on the train and on the page. My dialogue in the margins is whimsical, funny, and sometimes, questioning. I might ask you for more of that story, or sometimes, for less. I might ask you if your sister really did that. I might clap or get excited or underline things. I will always seek more clarity, trim long sentences, and create parallel structure so your story’s “higher self” rings true. Reorganization and structure are  part of the package. Editing is about thinking like a reader, after all, not like a writer.

And when we write, we are vulnerable. Some writers have a hard time opening the door. So I say, let me into the room

Letting an editor in the room is about trust, and we have to earn it with care, consideration and faith.

Let’s get ready to make your book the best it can possibly be! 

“The first draft reveals the art; revision reveals the artist.”
─ Michael Lee