The writer-editor relationship is like no other because your editor is your advocate and is by your side to help you realize your vision, lending a critical eye when your eyes have become misty from spending too much time looking at your own words.

How though, you might wonder, does the editor work with the writer? Let me share with you how I worked with a specific writer on two books.

The first novel that this writer hired me to help her with was a historical one that she had been working on for around four years. She had already found a literary agent who had been submitting the manuscript to publishing houses that were passing on it.

Anyone could see how alluring the manuscript was-strong characters, heartrending conflict, and it took place during a fascinating historical period.

My job as a book editor is to identify the problem-why would such a rich book not be swooped up?

Even though it had much going for it, if you want to publish through the traditional route, everything much be “perfect” -the book needed line editing, there were too many characters, and a major relationship needed honing. I identified the issues, line edited the manuscript, wrote a detailed editorial letter, and then sent the material to the writer so that we could discuss her revision.

We had a long discussion about the characters and how to develop and clarify relationships, which ones were central to the narrative and why. Sharpening the focus of relationships and tightening language did it (as well as cutting out a character) and the book found a publisher.

The author’s next book was a much different experience. More about that soon”¦

Read Part 2 here.

Ayla Myrick
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