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Jennifer and Jessie, thank you both so much for all the useful questions and answers. So glad I discovered this thread. Jessie, I too am at the start of my dev ed path and just past the “I’ll work endless hours for just the experience” stage. I am just finishing a wonderful project that I am doing for an indie small publisher for an unspecified fee–I am so hoping the owner who hired me will find my invoice in the ballpark. So that’s the first rule I have broken. The next rule I broke is that, instead of doing the DE letter at the end of my weeks of reading and thinking, the author told me the publisher had said he hoped for an advance review copy in June–this was in May, and he meant this June!–so the author and I did a totally unconventional process of working in tandem, with daily messages back and forth with feedback and suggestions from me (she was already revising based on my ms eval earlier), new material and revisions coming my way. . . crazy, I know. The writing style is gorgeous and I didn’t want any other CE to mess with it, so I did the CE myself and we are now breaking Rule #3, going through my AU queries (she is going through most of the Track Changes herself) via Zoom, with me putting in her final decisions right at the moment we discuss them and she decides. Good thing I am not in this for the big bucks–but I was an English teacher in rural Vermont, so long hours for little pay seems to be my modus operandi– that was not exactly a career path based on making money either. Anyway, I have learned so much and had the thrill of being present at the creation, so to speak, and I now have a new friend I haven’t met yet–and definitely a great testimonial to come. Maybe someday I’ll even make money at this craft.
Hi all. I have just started on the DE path in the past year, after decades as an English teacher, and I realized during one of Jennifer’s courses that there is a crucial difference between teaching literature and the DE role of analyzing what a manuscript needs: In the former, I was showing students how every thread of the tapestry tied together, while as a DE I have to be mindful of all the loose threads that interrupt the pattern. But background knowledge has been crucial to me–as a teacher of writing, of course, but also in random subject matter knowledge. The most recent writer to contact me is a “death doula”–a totally new concept to me, but my favorite nonfiction book of the past year was From Here to Eternity, which examines death and burial practices and beliefs in various cultures, and I had also been fascinated by articles about mushroom burial–who knows why, but I was–so the writer found me a perfect fit for her project. Who’d have guessed that particular background knowledge/interest would make me a perfect DE for an author of a YA fantasy novel about death in the Fae world? Ya never know. . . .May 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm in reply to: Common abbreviations we use in talking about editing #116869
I just came upon another abbreviation that’s new to me: ARC, which means Advance Review Copy. I think it implies this version will go out to reviewers sans proofreading, and possibly before the CE process as well–not sure about that.
One question while we’re waiting to roll: I seem to remember finding the narrative chronology and identification of characters confusing. Have you noticed similar issues? Kendra, being in the middle of the book gives you a perspective on this I’d love to hear, as once a reader finishes, more clarity has likely developed. And Jake, as you’ve recently finished the book (?), I wonder whether you noticed any similar confusions but now find they were well designed and well resolved?
Hi from Nancy in Vermont. It’s been a couple of years since I read the book, so I will just sit back and take in what you more recent readers observe. If this is freeloading, I’ll try to do better next month!
Hello, Jake and Jennifer. I have found my way to this thread at last, and I am so happy I did. A friend was writing a middle grades novel which seemed to have such minor conflicts in each chapter, and I finally realized that–oh yeah–fifth graders can have pretty tame lives compared to the characters in the types of fiction I tend to read. I’ve been trying to read a few middle grade novels now so I have a better sense of how these can work. My favorite line for teaching conflict to kids was “The cat sat on the mat–no story. The cat sat on the dog’s mat–now you have a story.” I can’t recall where I heard that, but I love it. Guess I need to get over to Brainy Quotes.
I am so glad to find this thread! I too am just learning how to give useful feedback and how to avoid irrelevant notes. For the high school student fantasy writer I’m working with, so far I’ve noted to her that she might want the two pairs of boy-girl characters to not be so similar, and to think about whether she really wants to be setting up potential romantic pairs; I know this young writer is gender-fluid, and she (or they?) was (were) surprised to learn that reader expectations might create a false impression of her actual intentions with the characters. I’m just hoping I’m on the right track with those comments; I am playing it cautiously as I get to know what she needs (they need) and can absorb. (She is only 15 but hugely talented–but still a beginner.) (Pardon my pronoun struggles–after 37 years of teaching English to high school kids, it is so tough to get out of the habit of pronoun agreement!)
Adrienne, your Slack group sounds incredibly helpful and supportive. What a fine idea! I noted a couple of my networking efforts on the Getting Paying Work thread (I hate to think of it that way, for the reasons Jennifer mentioned, but rather as ways I’ve connected with writers and other editors). So far I’ve gone to my VT EFA meetings (twice yearly, but wonderful–met a local publisher, which was cool); gone to local authors’ book talks; gone to another talk by an editor and a president of the Vermont College of Fine Arts; gone to the local writers workshop meeting; and forced myself to reply to at least two or three EFA job postings every week (with zero results in terms of paid work, though a few extended and fun conversations with authors). I had to really force myself the first few times to do these things, but I am giving it my all. Fingers crossed, also eyes, as a beloved cousin once said.
Hi, Jake and Jennifer, I have missed this thread, as my normal ezcloud.com email has been kaput for several days (woe is I), and I am now using gmail (email@example.com) in case you want to reach me. (Jennifer, I am still trying to get hooked up with the DE book club and have started Where the Crawdads Sing–such gorgeous language that I am seduced and probably won’t think of anything I would recommend or change; Jake, will you be participating in that starting this Wednesday?) Anyway, I am just now catching up on these posts. Jake, I really like your thinking and would love to see your website; would you share the name? Mine is scriptoriumeditingservices.com. I managed to cadge three testimonials from the few folks I’ve worked for, and they were very gracious in responding to my request, though it took some persistence for one of them to cough up the goods (my old dissertation advisor, whom I edited several article for a few years ago as a grad student but who is on sabbatical and apparently doesn’t reply to emails all that much these days). Being shy turns out not to be an effective way to get what I want, so my current editing motto is Mitch McConnell’s annoyed comment on Elizabeth Warren’s determination to read aloud during a hearing Coretta Scott King’s letter from 1986, which McConnell somehow found inappropriate: anyway, new motto is “Nevertheless, she persisted.” I am doing book coaching along with the eventual DE with the high school YA fantasy writer I think I mentioned, so I am now reading up on book coaching and planning to learn the ropes. I will definitely ask the student or her faculty advisor for a testimonial at the end of the project. Not sure how impressive mine are so far, but it’s a work in progress, as I am. This job and one other came to me from my local editing teacher/long-ago student here in Montpelier VT. I also went to a book talk last week by a VT author who teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and we had a wonderful convo, after which she asked if I’d be available to edit her next book! I am not betting the farm that this will actually happen, but it was exciting. And for one more idea, I went to the local chapter of the Burlington Writers Workshop, though I was transparent about the fact that I am an editor, not a writer (fraud complex!). It was wonderful hearing the writers discussing several pieces from their perspective, and I chimed in too, which apparently was welcome. I did not give out my card (which I have handed to two people, one of whom is my son), but I did encounter a very successful author there, Laurie Forest, who lives in this area and whom I’d met twice before, once at our VT chapter of the EFA and once on an earlier visit to this writers workshop. She urged me to come again. So there are a couple of ideas for encountering writers who might be looking around to find an editor. So far, very little cold hard cash has resulted, but I am ever hopeful.
Jake, I labored mightily to get the photo thing to work, but I finally wrestled it into submission. ‘Scuse the mixed metaphor, and thanks for letting me in on this method for getting photos uploaded.
Hi Adrienne. It is actually a bit of a story how the work with the high school writer came about. I was a high school English teacher for decades, and a long-ago student of mine, Susannah Noel, is a very accomplished editor and became my editing teacher, having started the Editorial Arts Academy here in Montpelier. (I am now her son’s tutor, in the sort of rich exchange that only happens when you live in the same area for 40 years). Anyway, Susannah met this student writer when the student and her own son were in a play together (yes, this kid writes, acts, and also sings opera). So that was the connection; Susannah didn’t have time to do the DE work for the student and asked me if I would like to take it on as a way to gain experience. I really do like working with young writers, so this is a great way for me to practice this new trade.
Hi Adrienne, this is Nancy in Vermont. I was the one who mentioned the various narrative structure templates and outlines. There are a few I’ve found and like a lot that feature a wealth of posts available online, including Save the Cat, Story Grid, and K.M. Weiland’s many posts (and her 35-page free download). There are books like Story Physics and many others that offer descriptions of (and sometimes prescriptions for) exactly what sorts of scenes doing what jobs in the plot must occur at particular points in a narrative. I find these interesting and possibly useful in looking at plot stretches or scenes that might feel flat, or just for looking at what a plot might be lacking. I don’t really have experience in using these, though. I am a definite newbie, looking for concepts I can use. Following Jennifer’s advice on ways to get experience, I am currently doing a writing coach/developmental editing project with a local high school student at a 75% discount off a typical DE rate (she has written a 200-page YA fantasy novel and is very talented, so it’s a fun project). I really do like working with young writers, so this is probably a good way for me to practice. (And if one of you can put me out of my techno-moron misery and tell me how to upload a photo, I will gladly do that.)
Hi, Kendra and Jennifer. I am a newbie but ever-hopeful developmental editor, copyeditor, line editor, writing coach–yes, I am at the stage of accepting all jobs. I hope to learn a lot from everyone who contributes to this forum. I work from my home in Vermont, where yesterday topped out at 8 degrees–above zero, which is a plus (the day started at 5 below). Jennifer, mega-thanks for your comments to me about use of the various narrative structure templates and outlines out there as well as how you deal with this aspect in your own editing. I’m really enjoying and getting a lot from the great MS Assessment and Eval course I’m working my way through now (and thanks for a fun ms to work on in the course).