Wednesday, January 10, 2018

On Spec Magazine

Pleased to have my story, "Sermon on the Mount" in the current issue (#106) of On Spec magazine.

This is my second fiction entry in On Spec; my first was in the very first issue of the magazine, August, 1989. It's taken me 105 issues to make a second fiction sale to these folks. Tough audience! (Well, I have had a couple of guest editorial spots in the magazine in between.)

By complete coincidence, that first story, "The Luck of Charles Harcourt", is being reprinted in the forthcoming/current issue of Polar Borealis magazine. I'll post about that when it happens.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Impostor syndrome

Many of our clients are students writing theses or dissertations, and many struggle with impostor syndrome, the sense that they have finally reached the limits of their knowledge/skills and are about to be exposed as the impostor they are, because they are struggling writing their thesis or dissertation. What they don't realize, of course, is that everyone struggles with any sustained piece of writing—if one isn't struggling, it's probably not going to be their best work.

High achievers are susceptible to Impostor Syndrome, says psychotherapist and author Dr. Aaron Balick, because they push the bounds of their professional areas, often working at the edge of their area of expertise. "It can be said that the more successful you are, the more likely you are to experience this, since your experience at the top of your field is, by its very nature, unusual."

—from an article by Bonnie Burton.

Grad students writing a thesis or dissertation are by definition out at the edges of their disciplines, creating new knowledge. A thesis or dissertation is usually the largest, highest-stakes project they've undertaken yet, so struggle and angst are pretty much inevitable. That one bumps up against staring at the blank page or having to rethink one's approach multiple times or not having the pieces all fall into place instantly is all perfectly normal because the processes of creation and writing are both complex and difficult—for everyone.

Which is where, of course, writing coaches come in. A little moral support can go a long way, starting by reassuring the writer that the angst they are feeling is normal and healthy. If writing were easy, everyone would do it. To do it well, is to put in effort, and effort requires struggle.

To help grad students with their struggles, Essential Edits has commissioned a 32 page guide by Dr. Runté on Thesis Writing Strategies which addresses the issues of dealing with the angst of writing (and more specifically, of rewriting) a thesis or dissertation, available FREE from the EssentialEdits.ca website.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Stephen Fry on "Correct" Language Usage

and why being pedantic about correct usage is small-minded and betrays a true lack of love of language: Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography: Language. Worth a listen.

At EssentialEdits.ca, we try to strike the appropriate balance between 'correctness' and the author's 'authentic voice'. A question of context, largely: Memoir or textbook, dialog or formal essay, this character or that one in a novel—diction makes a very useful character tag . . .

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Editor as Secret Weapon

Toronto Star article that notes Giller Prize and Writers' Trust Award winners had top editor as a secret weapon:

Meet the secret weapon behind three award-winning Canadian books photo of Martha Kanya Forstner with award-winning titles

Editors are secret weapons because their work often goes uncelebrated, and because a good editor can weaponize your manuscript.

The article does a good job of describing the role of an editor and what it is like to work with a great structural or developmental editor.

We can't promise we can turn your initial draft into a Giller Prize-winner, but we can promise we can take it to the next level.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Editor is Not Your Enemy

Good post from Inside Higher Education by Rob Weir that explains the difference between copy editing and developmental editing, and especially how an author should react to editor feedback.

The Editor is Not Your Enemy

Spoiler alert: Chucking the whole project is not the solution.

Rob is talking about book publishing, but the same advice applies to theses and dissertations, just change "editor" to "supervisor" in the article, and it applies.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Greetings at Joe Mahoney Book Launch

I was the acquisition and developmental editor on Joe Mahoney's book, A Time and A Place for Five Rivers Publishing. Neither the publisher, Lorina Stevens, nor I were able to attend the Toronto book launch, so we made brief selfie-video greetings to be shown in our absence. If you want a glimpse of my boss at Five Rivers, and hear me talk about my role as an acquisition editor and developmental editor on the book, watch this three minute video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-v06fHzxMg&list=PLYyla3aTwM9R5f3nVHfTficSyOHajIIZj

Thursday, November 2, 2017

An editor's view of clients

A good depiction of an editor's view of clients for Halloween: Boo! These Are the 10 Monsters Your Book Editor Fears the Most by Blake Atwood.

Blake concludes by saying "Now, this isn’t a complaint article about editing clients. Rather, it’s meant as a curtain-parting glimpse into what editors deal with in terms of unprepared, underprepared, or naive clients. It’s what not to do when working with an editor."

He goes on to say, "Additionally, many of these 'monsters' come by it honestly. Because they don’t live, breathe and eat writing and publishing as editors do, they just don’t know what’s conventional or expected. Most editors understand this and are glad to help new authors learn the ropes—so long as the author is receptive to expert advice."

Of course, most clients are not like those described. Most are reasonable people looking for expert advice on their manuscript and open to input to ensure their manuscript is as good as it can be. They are happy to learn about the process and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their writing so they can eliminate any bad habits for next time, and pleasantly surprised how good their writing is after an editor as been over it. The editor-client relationship is almost always positive, Blake's occasional monster notwithstanding.