|At one time, even the authors of classic works were not |
successful, published writers. I like to think
they had editors who helped their writing...even a little.
Photo | EKHumphrey
Our discussion roamed through all sorts of topics, but I became passionate about the manuscripts I edit and those authors I edit. And what is the definition of a writer.
I told her that work with a wide range of writers (from academic manuscripts to romance…and everything in between). I don’t have to like everything I read and oftentimes when I start out not liking something, I finish with liking the writing and the author also. Some writing I don’t feel comfortable working in and some writers I don’t feel comfortable working with, but I can generally figure that out when I read a sample of the work…or when I in contact with the writer.
When I edit a writer’s work, I am the stand-in reader with the ability to help the writer make the manuscript better. But why, my friend pressed me, would I feel the need to edit work that “might not be very good by someone who is clearly not a writer?”
Why? Because I am also a writer. (Some days I know I am a better writer than other days.) And everyone needs to start somewhere. When a client approaches me, the novels been written. How many people can say they have written a 150,000-word novel? To me, that person is a writer, even if the writing proves to be a little uneven in the draft stages.
It is my hope that, as a writer, I am able to work with an editor to make my good and not-so-good work sparkle. I may not have landed on the bestseller lists and some family members may see my writing as a hobby, but I still want an editor who can see through my spelling mistakes or transposed words and understand what I’m trying to accomplish, even if I don’t meet someone’s arbitrary definition of what a writer is. An editor can also help to validate us as writers.
So many of us write because we have a story to tell and we pack our words into a multitude of genres. We write because we want to share our stories. I edit to help others tell their stories better and I want an editor I can work with to help me tell my stories better. Don’t you?
Do you work in different genres? Do you have a preferences? Are there some genres you only read during certain times?
Elizabeth King Humphrey, a writer and editor in North Carolina, is celebrating the publication of her Idiot's Guide: Gluten-Free Eating. She wishes all The Muffin readers a Happy New Year filled with lots of written words!