See what Shon dishes out about editing with our Meet the Editor column.When did you first notice you were hung-up on typos?
I think I've always been hung-up on typos; however, it became an obsession about eight years ago when I pursued my MFA/MA in creative writing and English. As a graduate teacher, I had to instruct students on how to write effective essays, and grammar, mechanics, sentence structure, and cohesion became paramount components in those instructions, not only for the students but also for me.
What advice would you give someone interested in becoming an editor?
Have a love for the WORD - meaning all words, what they look like, what they sound like, what they mean.
Have a love for the STORY - meaning all facets of the story, character, plot, conflict, setting, dialogue, etc.
Have a love for the TECHNICAL - meaning all that fun stuff, grammar, mechanics, etc.
What's the best advice you have ever received from a writer?
Keep doing what you're doing and charge more - you're worth it.
What's the best advice you've given a writer?
If you don't love what you write, most readers won't love it either.
In your opinion, what makes an editor great?
Great editors give care and attention to the story, first and foremost.
Great editors make sure the story stays true to the writer's intention and not the editor's intention for the story.
What's the one misperception about editors you want to clear up? Two things - not everyone can be an editor and editing is easy.
Just because a person loves to read does not make him/her the perfect choice for an editor. And no, one doesn't have to have several degrees to be an editor either - though it can help. Editors need to love to read, and they also need to know when what's written is not good and know how to fix it or offer suggestions so that the writer can learn, grow, and fix his/her issues within the story.
Though, it might appear that editing is easy to do, it isn't. Some might say, "Well, you're just reading, right?" No, not just reading - that's called LEISURE. What we do is work - hours of reading a single manuscript and analyzing it for its technical issues as well as story prowess. We evaluate said manuscript in a way that we can communicate to our client so that he/she can not only understand today but can apply it tomorrow on the next manuscript.
Why should a writer choose to work with you?
I love stories.
I love words.
I love grammar and mechanics - yes, I AM a geek and proud of it.
I love the light bulb moment that occurs when a writer "gets it."
Even more, I love when I edit the writer's next manuscript and can see the growth in his/her writing because he/she has LEARNED.
What genres do you focus on? Why?
I actually edit in a wide range of genres. In the past, I've edited romance, horror, fantasy, vampiric, urban/street, mystery, erotica, women's fiction, and memoirs. For me, it's all about helping to develop a good story - no matter the genre. In addition, I love to learn. Sometimes, I'm doing as much research on a subject as I am editing so that I can make sure the client is factual in his/her work. What I learn carries over into future projects I edit--and even into those projects I write.
Jesaka Long is helping you get to know the pencils behind the blog. Got a burning question for your favorite contributor? Send it my way: jesaka [at] jesakalong.com.