Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hire the Right Editor by Andy Scheer

I did the writer a favor—by redirecting her to another editor.

Somehow she hadn’t realized her style and mine fall on opposite ends of spectrum. In my class for her writers group, I’d advocated that “vigorous writing is concise.” I’d shown where excess words often lurk in prose. I’d even given examples of my editing.

When she asked about editing her novel, I assumed she resonated with my perspective. But from the first paragraph, I could tell she’d come to the wrong editor.

Rather than let readers’ imagination take an active role, this author had filled in every blank. Aiming for sophistication, she’d raided her thesaurus.

Yes, I could edit her novel. But neither of us would have been happy.

So I pointed her to an editor much more at home with the conventions and vocabulary of her genre—and the expectations of its readers.

When considering an editor, skill is important. But so is style.


Amber Schamel said...

Thank you for your post, Andy. I can see that getting the right editor can be key to your novel becoming the best that it can be.

What suggestions would you give an author to make sure they've found the right editor?

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Ask novelists writing in a similar style about their experience with editors. You could also ask editors what novels they've edited like yours.

Wearing my editor hat, I always check the manuscript before I commit to work with it, to make sure I'm a good fit. And for a developmental edit, I always send the author an edited first chapter and wait for a green light before going further.

Amber Schamel said...

Great ideas. Thanks, Andy!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Great advice from one of the best editors out there!

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Thanks for your kind words.