Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Advice from the Red Pen: Volume 2 (With Stephanie Parent)

Volume 2 

Today, we're visiting with my editor friend Stephanie Parent. Stephanie has worked on a few of my own books, and is currently an editor for hire, too! I had fun being able to chat with her about her take on editing, and I think you'll find her advice insightful and interesting!

Editor Q&A

As an editor, what types of manuscripts do you enjoy reading the most, in terms of genre or characters? 

Actually, one of my favorite things about editing is getting to read such a wide variety of genres! No matter what I’m reading, though, I’m always drawn to character-driven stories. I also have a soft spot for romance and new adult novels, since that’s what I edited the most of when I was first starting out. And my greatest love as a reader is YA and children’s books, so of course I love to edit those as well!

What annoys you the most as an editor? 

I think I’m a pretty easygoing editor—I can deal with a lot! One thing that can bother me is when authors don’t mention something they’re particularly looking for from an edit. I’m happy to tailor my style to individual authors, but I’m not a mind reader—you have to tell me what you do or don’t want!

Do you think that an editor has to be as much of a storyteller as the writer? Or does it depend on the editor and what they're looking for in the manuscript? 

I do think that depends on the editor. For me personally, I work with a lot of self-published authors who have a clear idea of what they want and who don’t have to worry about meeting a publisher’s needs, so I try to preserve the author’s vision as much as possible. From my brief experience writing YA and working with agents, I believe editors at traditional publishing houses are more likely to fall into the “storyteller” category. These editors have to be a lot more concerned with making sure books conform to current market trends—luckily I don’t have to worry about that unless an author requests it!

What is your favorite part about editing? 

Reading was my greatest love as a child, and I always wished for a job where I could read all day. I’m happy to say I pretty much got my wish! I also love being able to work in coffee shops instead of an office.

How many times do you think a manuscript should be edited before it goes to publication, and why? 

Ideally a manuscript should be edited at least three times—a content edit for issues with plot and character, a sentence-level copy edit, and a proofread to catch any errors the copy edit missed. Of course, there are always exceptions. Authors who use detailed outlines might not need a content edit, and authors who want their books to be completely error-free might want to use two separate proofreaders.

What advice could you offer to other editors or writers who are working on their manuscript? How could they work to make their writing cleaner or more efficient? 

This is a hard question to answer, since everyone’s writing and editing process is different! I would suggest that authors familiarize themselves with basic grammar rules and take note of mistakes they frequently make, words and phrases they tend to overuse, etc. One good way to identify your writing habits—although it might make you cringe!—is to look at something you wrote a few years ago. You’ll have enough distance from your work to spot repetition or awkward stylistic choices you can’t see in something you just finished. Of course, you may have evolved as a writer over the intervening years, but it’s still helpful to do this from time to time. If nothing else, it will show you how far you’ve come!

To contact Stephanie, visit her Official Website!

About Stephanie Parent
I am a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California, and I’ve worked as an editor, copy editor and proofreader for many publishing companies and individual clients over the past ten years. Companies I’ve worked for include Dorchester Publishing (former publisher of the popular Loveswept romances), Cobblestone Press, The Wild Rose Press, and many more! I specialize in copy editing and proofreading—I have an eye for detail and I love to make those sentences shine!—but I offer full manuscript critiques and substantive editing as well. I am also a writer myself, so I understand how important your words are to you and am very mindful of keeping the writer’s voice and intentions as my first priority.

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Get fictional - it's fun! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!