I write this from the safety of my home, where I am sheltering in place under orders from my county and the California governor. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it is sunny outside, and warm enough to have the windows open. Today is day three of the official shelter in place order for my county, although it feels like a month has passed already. We are asked to leave home only for essential things like groceries, or for those people who work in fields like medical care. Most people seem to be doing their part. My local coffee shop is closed, and restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery. Traffic is remarkably, inconceivably light. People are out taking walks.

Being a remote worker already, I’m carrying on much as I already have, only I’m not going to my co-working space for the foreseeable future. This is hard because I enjoy being around my office colleagues who work in various industries, including a few other editors and writers. I’m used to baking cookies and bringing them in to the office to share. I rely now on phone and FaceTime and Zoom calls with friends and family locally and around the world. We talk about our anxieties and crack jokes, and the content of the conversation is less important than the ability to connect.

At this point I’m fully back to work editing and beta reading. I did take a few days off of work earlier this week to run errands and call friends, and check on the more vulnerable people in my local community. I also spent some time bingeing news, as I think a lot of us have been doing.

But now it’s important to me to get back to work, as best I can. I’m fortunate that I can work remotely. I find the routine of work, and immersing myself in the fantastical worlds of an author’s imagination, is really comfortable and familiar. I normally spend much of my time deep in made-up worlds, being entranced by characters and their many problems, and thinking deeply about the structure of novels. I focus a lot on the characters’ motives and conflicts, what they want and what stops them, which together are the engine that drives the plot. Getting back to work editing is, for me, going home.

I am open to new clients, and happy to provide free sample edits and a free introductory consultation over the phone, Skype, or similar technology. I specialize in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, which are genres that have always captivated me with their imaginative worldbuilding and high stakes. I love stories with supernatural creatures, aliens, spaceships, people with superpowers, or technology so advanced it acts like magic. For me these sci-fi (or “skiffy” as some call it) ideas are a way to talk about human problems and what it means to be human. Telling stories is part of the social fabric that keeps us together, and I’d love to talk to you about your story.

Amy Bennett

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