From Editor to Author
“The willingness to explore is what forms the core relationship of author and editor.”
What did you mean by this? Is this intentional?—are questions I often ask while editing a manuscript. When reading the author’s revision, I witness how the answers to those questions and others—relative to the book’s narrative elements—eventually result in or come close to the author’s initial intentions.
Imperceptibly, seemingly simple questions influence other aspects of how the author approaches the story. A few words are revised or excised, a sentence is altered, a new paragraph is written, a chapter is cut—this process leads to revelation. A fresh awareness forms. Something has deepened, and paradoxically, has been excavated.
Behind the scenes, connections between various narrative elements create bridges. Characters, tension, plot, dialogue, conflict, and more—begin to flow; tributaries that eventually lead to a layered, fully realized story.
The first developmental edit, followed by the author’s revision, springboards the manuscript toward publishing. It is not uncommon that a second edit follows the first and the final revision polishes the manuscript. Whether one edit or two, I know my work is done when an author says, “This is the book I wanted to write but didn’t know how to. I don’t know how you did it, I don’t know how I did it, but somehow we got there.”
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Stacey Donovan is a consultant for Book Editing Associates,
a small, carefully vetted group of elite editors.