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07/13/2011

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Patricia Boyd

The older I get, the more forgiving I am with unskilled writers. But I do find that when I reassure the author that if he or she doesn't like my changes, the original can easily and cheerfully be restored, I get better responses. (Though in truth, I do grumble to myself about stets, but I have resignedly written an "undo" keyboard macro so that the task isn't too reprehensible for me.) I too always go back through my comments, many of which get deleted or modified. Sometimes, I'm just so taken with a sentence or two that I want just to write a non-editorial comment (such as a compliment or my own observation that backs up the author's point). Most of the time in these situations, though, I refrain, or relegate this to the author letter. I know what you mean about sometimes having a hard time finding something to compliment in the author letter. But being a mother does help. Remember how we'd encourage our nonathletic kids after a soccer game? "You really ran hard [albeit away from the ball]!" I make similar comments: "Your passion for milky spore grub control really shines through in this manuscript!"

me.yahoo.com/a/nwAukqA2o_Hmigiz4glMOxqbOJ7SbzHa

One of my book publisher clients is really good about giving me background information about an author before I start an edit. I can find out what the history of the project is, what the author's goals are, where the sticky bits are, what delicate sensibilities I need to be aware of. I also google the author for information. Is the author respected among peers, egotistical, insecure, strictly business? Does the author have a sense of humor? After that I initiate my first contact and set the tone based on what I've found out. This approach has helped me to successfully deal with the person, who happens to be an author. Each author I've worked with in this way has been happy with the editorial process, even if I was able to get the author to soften on a previously hard-line stance. Sometimes editing is as much about finesse as anything else.

me.yahoo.com/a/nwAukqA2o_Hmigiz4glMOxqbOJ7SbzHa

Oh, for crying out loud. What an ugly link. I need to fix that. You can reach me at jeanne@hansenedits.com. Thanks, Jeanne Hansen

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Advice for Writers and Editors

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