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Monday, June 16, 2008

Demystifying the editorial process

Editors are mysterious people. I mean love my editors very much, but really I could not do what they do. Scheduling, for example, is a black art.
I prefer to write my stories, but the thought of trying to figure out precisely what is wrong with a story or why it works or does not work, plus all the other things that go on in publishing would soon have me heading for the nearest exit.
But I am very interested in learning about the editorial process and publishing in general. It is one of the reasons why I love reading Isabel Swift's blog, and why I am interested whenever I come across articles on editors.
My college alumni magazine recently published an article on Cheryl Klein who among other things served as the Scholastic continuity editor for Harry Potter. The article was interesting as far as it went. I was amazed but not surprised that HP had a continuity editor.
Anyway, I went in search of her website to see if she had any thoughts on writing continuities. Natasha Oakley had just made my head ache with how she figured out her characters' ages. It read a bit like a logic puzzle.
Klein does not have any articles on continuity but she does have several interesting articles on the theory of line editing as well as a letter to a would be editor. The line editing article is worth downloading and reading. Some things are different in the series book world -- for example the amount of time an author has to do revisions, but most of the things she says are pertinent. I know I have done some of the things like -- apologising for my copy editing mistakes.
But if you are interested in knowing how an editor works, and why and what they want, this article should be a must read.
In her letter to a would be editor, she describes how her boss Arthur Levine acquired his own imprint in Scholastic. Basically he discovered -- Redwall, The Golden Compass and Harry Potter...thus leading TPTB to suspect that he possessed a certain amount of skill.
So if you wish to demystify the editorial process or get an editor's take on where she is coming from...I suggest taking a look at Cheryl's site.

And now I have to do the creative thing and actually write my Governess story. Right now, my editors can't wait to read my next story.

1 comment:

rayannelutenerblog said...

Sorry to come in late to this link, but what an excellent site!
Thank you so much for the link, and yes, great advice.
Now all we have to do is apply it..:-)