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and life along the winding road

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Guest Post - Helen Ginger

I met Helen Ginger at a workshop some years ago and am an avid follower of her blog Straight from Hel. If you want up to date news and information in the writing world and great book reviews, her blog is the place to find it. 
If you ever get a chance to meet Helen or attend one of her workshops, don't pass it up. Not only is she a lovely person, but she has some hilarious stories and you are sure to have some laugh out loud moments.
Helen has contributed a guest post here today on the Cozy in Texas blog with advice on how to look for an editor. 

Choosing an Editor
Just about all writers need a second set of eyes looking at their work. And, of course, it’s best if those eyes know what to look for. That’s where editors come into play. Before you hire an editor, consider what you want that editor to work on in your manuscript. There are different levels of editing and different types of editing:

Copyediting – Also called line editing, focusing primarily on the basics, like grammar, punctuation, syntax.

Conceptual Editing -- Also called content editing, focusing on the flow of the story, character development, POV, and more. Or if your work is non-fiction: clarity, comprehensiveness, use of tables, illustrations, etc.

Comprehensive Editing – This is usually a combination of copyediting and conceptual editing.

Proofreading – This editor catches those often overlooked things before your work goes to an agent or publisher – spelling goofs, errant commas, etc.

Choosing an editor is a big step, plus it costs money, so ask friends who they used, check the acknowledgement page of a book that you liked. Often, the author will thank their editor. Check editor webpages. Some editors will edit a small number of pages for free, as a sample of what they do.  Once you narrow your search down to two or three editors, use that free sample to choose one you like and feel you connect with.

I’ve been editing for writers since my college days, but I’m not soliciting here. Since mid-January when I took over the position of Coordinator for Story Circle Network’s Editorial Services, I’m not taking on new clients. From personal experience, though, I can tell you that I, and every editor friend I have, enjoy working with writers and work hard to make your manuscript the best it can be.
Helen Ginger is an author, blogger, and the Coordinator of Story Circle Editorial Service. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops.  In addition, her free ezine, Doing it Write, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its thirteenth year of publication. You can follow Helen on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn. Helen is the author of 3 books in TSTC Publishing’s TechCareers series.

http://publishing.tstc.edu/  (TSTC Publishing)
Co-op Blog I post on once a month: Blood Red Pencil

Not only is Helen an editor and blogger, she was once a mermaid, but I'll let her tell you that tail tale. Good luck with your new endeavor Helen. Can't wait to read more of your work in progress. Thanks for joining us today.

Excerpt from Helen's Work in Progress:


Angel Downe had a plan: Go home to Oklahoma and ask her mother why she loved her one day, then threw her out like garbage the next. To do that, she needed three things: a high school diploma, a car, and a gun.
Since her mother was never going to come looking for her, she’d go to her mother. After three years on the streets of South Padre Island, she put out her thumb. She arrived in Austin, Texas, at 2:23 on a Wednesday afternoon.
The trucker who’d picked her up a hundred miles south pulled to the shoulder of I-35 near the 11th Street exit, wished her luck and told her she’d find the Blue Dahlia about two blocks east. Angel jumped from the lowest step down to the gravel and used both hands to close the semi’s door, then peered through the small window near the bottom to wave goodbye.
As she backed onto the grass, he ground gears. She watched the big truck roll forward, pick up speed and edge back into traffic. Shading her eyes to block sun reflecting off the highway, she watched the truck until it disappeared around a curve.
Cars whipped dust past her at sixty-five. Other semis buffeted her, rocking her onto her heels. Still she stood, taking in the stench of diesel and the clear sky partially blocked by office buildings and tall condos. She wouldn’t say she was well-traveled, but she’d gone from Oklahoma to the southern edge of Texas and half-way back. These were the tallest buildings she’d ever seen. Seventy stories. Maybe ninety. Black, brown, glass, brick. How do they keep from falling?
            Pivoting, she looked down 11th Street. More buildings, but shorter. Some sort of bridge or sign arcing over the road. Cars, lots of cars, everywhere. Nothing that looked like the Blue Dahlia Bistro he’d described. Didn’t matter. She wasn’t heading east anyway. Downtown held more job possibilities.
She was 16 and had been on her own since she turned 12 and her aunt had driven her 800 miles from home, then gave her $50 and left. Her aunt hadn’t expected her to survive.
She almost didn’t.


Dorte H said...

Wow, what a great first paragraph!

And editors are certainly valuable. I just read another article about Amanda Hocking today, where she explained that one of the reasons why she wrote a contract with a traditional publisher was that her freelance editors had not given her the help she needed.

Helen Ginger said...

Interesting, Dorte. I haven't read any of her books. Hopefully, she got the advice she needed. (Guess she did since her books are best-sellers!)

So many books, so little time said...

Great interview

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

K9friend said...

Helpful information on editing. Thanks to Helen and good luck to her on the WIP!

Critter Alley

Anonymous said...

Lots of helpful info here. People who are serious about publishing a book need to have an editor. This is the diffeence betweenn a good book and a great book.

Regge Ridgway said...

Editors are task masters or drill sargents or something in between. Lots of my favorite things get cut and I am humbled at all that I don't know yet about writing. I had a misconception that most readers are not sophisticated enough to notice gramaticle errors and therefore not necessary to search out and correct. However novels are interrogated by publishers and agents with CSI type editing skills. My recent pitch for ABNA was passed over probably because of a grammatical error I can't see yet. Editors are like doctors. We need to listen to them. Or get a second opinion. Great blog post.