Throughout the month of August, we’ll be posting interviews during our popular Saturday segment, Tech Talk. We’ll speak with editors, photographers, and other people who help writers become the best they can be in their chosen field.
Stay tuned each Saturday for a new interview!
Today we’ll speak with two editors who help author’s manuscripts look their best. Welcome, Fay Lamb and Precarious Yates!
As authors, we need to present our best work to publishers and readers alike. Editors help us do that.
Welcome to the Writing Prompts Blog. First question. Do you have a specialty in the editing work you do?
Fay: Yes, you won’t normally find me editing non-fiction. When I write non-fiction, I do it in the same way that I speak, and I write it in regard to only one subject: writing fiction. I feel that an editor must have an expertise in what they edit, and to edit something without a knowledge of the structure or the element that goes into that type of writing does a disservice to a client.
As far as fiction, I’ll edit most genres. However, historical fiction authors might find me a bit tedious, especially Biblical fiction. I’m a little picky about the finer details.
Precarious: I specialize in editing speculative fiction, although I’ve edited many a romance story. I edit both grammar and content, as well as provide story coaching when requested. Another of my specialties is my effort to help an author find and preserve his or her unique voice.
How do you go about an edit? Read it first, then edit. Or read and edit together?
Faye: I generally read and edit at the same time if the author is one that has presented a clean manuscript and if the story is not a complex one. On occasion, following that first read and edit, I’ll change the track changes to “final” so that my edits will appear incorporated into the manuscript. I’ll then read it again for areas that I might have missed. I do this especially for complex story lines or if I have found a few inconsistencies in a plot line. The clean document helps me to find any areas I may have missed. After the second read-through, I show the original markup and send the manuscript on its merry way.
Precarious: I do a bit of both. For line editing, I note grammar and plot line anomalies during the first reading, as well as suggestions for rhythm and cadence. I see all this much clearer during the first read-through.
After I read through the story the first time, I have a clearer understanding of where the author wants to take the story. Once I know where the story is going, I can give clear advice about how to repair any faulty or weak plot points.
What are the components of a strong story?
Fay: I believe there are seven key elements to fiction. How an author uses those elements brings about the author’s voice, but all seven of these elements are key to strong storytelling: plot, pacing (to include genre-specific and bringing back story into the present without jettisoning a reader into the past), conflict, character (I include description under character because I believe it is the character’s job to provide description and not the author), showing (no telling), point of view (the deeper the better), and dialogue.
- The hero has to be decisive – not necessarily opinionated, but not floundering.
- The plot needs to pull the reader along, where the reader is desperate to know what happens next.
- The prose needs to both paint pictures in the reader’s mind and dance through the reader’s mind.
- The character needs to dredge up as much of my sympathies as possible.
Share three words of wisdom to help every writer.
Fay: Develop your craft.
Precarious: Don’t. Stop. Writing!! Find a trustworthy editor who likes the genre you write in. Trust your instincts about your story.
Where can we contact you?
Fay: You can find me at my personal Facebook page, my Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. I’m also active on Twitter. Then there are my blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads. If you are interested in either my freelance editing or coaching, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I try very hard to have a quick turnaround time for manuscripts. Anything under 80k words I can often return within a week, especially if it’s for a proof read.
Thanks so much for hosting me today! Blessings!