A very big ‘Thank You’ to Samantha Fountain for inviting me to participate in her massively successful #PitchToPublication twitter campaign as one of many talented editors. (As a side note, good luck to everyone involved as both writers and editors!) I was fortunate enough to give a small interview (see below) to Samantha that is also live on her blog. Go check it out and get involved! Also, for more information on how to get involved with the #PitchToPublication campaign, check out this blog post that explains everything!
Q. How did you become a freelance editor?
For years, I worked at Simon & Schuster, where I edited and acquired CB, MG, tween, and YA novels. I loved my job but between all of the in-house meetings, financial paperwork, contract negotiations, agent/author lunches, etc., the limited time I actually had to edit needed to be done on my own time. Now that I’m full-time freelance, I get to concentrate on my favorite part of the job: edit, and help authors to make their novels the best they can be!
Q. Do you have a general philosophy for how you approach your editing work?
Editing is a collaborative process. My job is to help you identify and solve any existing problems in your novel, and ask questions/suggest possible improvements that will allow you to take your novel to the next level. I have found the most successful way to communicate my insights to authors is equal parts honesty and compassion, and by providing support while also challenging my clients to reach higher and work harder.
Q. What are the most common mistakes you see in new writers work?
It is very difficult for a writer (new and experienced alike) to know where to begin his or her story. Often times, the beginning of the story is where the author is figuring out what he or she is writing, or where he or she is heading with plot. Therefore, I often see novels that begin too far away from the inciting incident.
I also see many instances wherein writers describe events (many times, transition scenes like walking to the car, getting from place to place) that are unnecessary to the plot and can, therefore, be easily cut.
Q. What’s the one thing most novelists don’t understand about the art of revision?
That it takes time, and dedication. I think many novelists would prefer to slap a band-aid fix over a serious issue and call it a day (when I first started writing, I know I did!). As writers, we get out of a novel what we put into it.
Q. What’s one easy thing every writer can do right now to make themselves a better writer?
Read voraciously and without guilt. Read as many books as you can, as often as possible. If you’re not taking writing classes, or in a writing workshop, reading can be just as valuable a teaching tool if you pay enough attention.
Q. What kind of entries are you looking for in your Pitch to Publication query box?
My specialty is YA, MG, tween. I also love NA and literary fiction. Fairy tales of any kind, and novels that have any sort of magical or fantastical element, always lure me. No matter what genre or age, voice is the single most important factor for me. If the voice is strong and compelling, I am often willing to overlook existing plot problems because I know those are fixable.
Q. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Q. How do you take your caffeine?
Dark roast coffee with a little milk or cream. More like rocket fuel than not.