Editing Buddies, Part II

>> Sunday, October 12, 2008

4. A good work ethic--Who wants a lazy editor? You don't want someone who will take three months to edit and return a five page short story (exaggerated example). And the last thing you want is someone who will put it off forever and let it collect dust until one day you inquire about it and they have no idea what you are talking about (ditto...I hope). This brings us to the next trait:

5. Someone who can manage his or her time--If a person is perpetually busy, you don't have to dismiss him out of hand. But be careful. If a person is so busy that he can't make time to edit your story, but spends hours playing video games or watching TV, move on. You need someone who can manage his time well, who will edit your piece and get it back to you, even if he has to do it in ten minute increments at a time until it's finished.

6. Enthusiasm--This is an important one. If someone hates to read, or doesn't like your particular type of story, think twice about handing it over. She may not be able to let go of her bias(es) when editing your story, and you want constructive feedback, not a long list of criticisms about what you SHOULD do, or that you're wasting your time writing anyway, or that fantasy isn't a real genre and the only books worth reading are the literary classics, etc, etc. Some one like this is only interested in cutting down, not building up.

7. A basic knowledge of literary elements (plot, structure, POV, etc.)--This is essential because if something major isn't working in your story, your editor not only needs to be able to identify it, but also be able to suggest how to fix it.

8. Creative flair--It's always a plus if your editor can help you make stylistic suggestions and changes to your story. But you don't want to make just any changes and sacrifice your characters, story, etc. You want to make changes that would suit them; this is where an editor with creative flair comes in. Your editor needs to be able to assess what changes would not only fit your characters or story, but improve it.