Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WRITERLY WISDOM: Karen R Sanderson






It's time once again for WRITERLY WISDOM where every Wednesday we will sneak a peek into the world of writing and publication. I met my next guest author when I stumbled across her blog THE WORD SHARK (http://www.karenrsanderson.com) a few years ago and I was immediately hooked! There is an incredible amount of wisdom in this post so all I can say is...take it away Karen...




I don’t need no stinkin’ editor
by Karen R. Sanderson


I know…what an opening sentence for an editor’s post, right?

What is an editor?

Ask any editor, you get a different answer. Developmental editing, line editing, copy editing – and the list goes on. Then you need to worry about the final proofread – punctuation, spelling, etc.

With each editor you find, he/she will have a different idea about each type of editing and proofreading as well as a different skill set.

Get samples

No matter what you are looking for in an editor or proofreader, I suggest discussing your work in progress with at least a handful of editors. Ask for free samples so you can assess the skill set of each editor.

Send them all the same bit of your work – see how they edit and what mistakes they find on a proofread, see what suggestions they make. Do you love their ideas or totally disagree? Do they “get” you?

Develop a relationship

I cannot harp on this enough. I have had so many strangers come to me (with imminent deadlines) – how can I edit you if I don’t know you? What sort of writer are you? What are you looking for in an editor? Do our styles mesh or clash?

Of course, each editor has his or her own specialties – I love poetry, horror, women’s fiction, historical, memoir, and non-fiction. I do not care for sci-fi or fantasy, so I don’t think I’d be the best match if you are a writer of those genres.

My Editor Spotlight series

I realize not every editor/proofreader is perfect for every writer. That’s why I’ve presented the blog series, Editor Spotlight. Over the years, I’ve highlighted other editors on my blog. I want every writer to find the right editor (even if it’s not me!).

If you don’t have an editor, perhaps you can find one by paging through my Editor Spotlight blogs. Here’s one to get you started – my own editor, Shawn MacKenzie.

Here’s another editor I find particularly awesome and her Editor Spotlight – Chris Eboch.

Let’s back up

Before you start the search for an editor…have you learned the craft of writing, plot, and dialog? Have you tried to improve your writing skills? Have you learned about showing not telling? Do you understand punctuation?

My three favorite writing-craft references

Deb Everson Borofka - Memory, Muses, Memoir (additional note – I took her class through UCLA Extension and it rocked!)

Additional desk references


Must haves

A comprehensive dictionary and a thesaurus (Roget’s of course). I’m old school, and I still prefer the paper tomes. My mom used to work for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader (this apple didn’t fall very far, did she?), so I like M-W.

For you new-wave writers, there are loads of online references.

Quick Editorial Tips series

Are you making these mistakes? Here’s a list of the blogs I’ve posted with Quick Editorial Tips.

Quick Editorial Tips I – Discusses pronouns, name consistency, adjectives, commas, redundancy, ellipses, listing chapters.

Quick Editorial Tips II – Discusses just and that, adverbs, white space, echoes, answered/expressed/questioned (instead of said).

Quick Editorial Tips III – Discusses was and were, seemed, appeared, dialog, same mundane sentence structure.

Quick Editorial Tips IV - Stop following my advice – Discusses your editor/writer relationships, are you getting advice that doesn’t feel right, are you in sync with your editor? 

Quick Editorial Tips V - Lessons from home – Discusses lay and lie, exact same, continue on, me or I.

Done writing. Now what?

Are you ready to edit or proofread? Are you about to hire an editor? Can you afford an editor?

I have answers to all these questions in my four-pack of DIY Editing and Proofreading.


Photos on the four-pack of editing by Gwen Dubeau.







Karen was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun. Her favorite book is the dictionary.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, writer, and an awesome grandmother. Connect with Karen on her website, blog, Facebook, Fan Page, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.


19 comments:

  1. Great advice, Karen, and thank you for the mention. :-) Donna, I'm going to have to stop back here again.

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    1. Hi Shawn and welcome to my blog! Karen's posts are always full of great advice. `Most of the WRITERLY WISDOM posts can be found in the side bar and i hope to completely update it soon.

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  2. Thank you, Shawn. This Writerly Wisdom series has been incredible! Loads of great posts, all year long!

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    1. Thank you, Karen, for your kind words. This has been an incredible year of lovely posts from wonderful guest bloggers. I couldn't have asked for a better run with this series...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  3. Great post!!!! Everything Karen explains here is what we writers need to hear...and then we need to follow her advice.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Pamela. I have my own editor (Shawn). Sometimes, I don't like to get her critiques - because it means a lot more work! But after all is said and done, her advice is spot-on and helps me be a better writer.

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    2. HI Pamela and welcome to my blog! I have been following Karen's posts for over three years now and couldn't agree with you more...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  4. Bravo for once again "telling it like it is," Karen. I can vouch for Karen's talent as a nonfiction editor too. She makes me see my work through the eyes of an outsider, and she always makes it cleaner, clearer and tighter. A good editor with the right relationship with her client is one of a writer's best investments in themselves.

    Thank you for bringing us this great post, Donna.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth! It's good to know Karen is as great a non-fiction editor as she is with fiction. Non-fiction is something I would really like to expand into so I will keep that in mind...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  5. Thanks, Elizabeth! For commenting and for the great endorsement. And you know I agree - about a good writer/editor relationship. It makes the experience much more rewarding.

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  6. What a great post! I will keep it in mind! :D

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    1. Hi Erik! Glad you could check this out...only about 6 weeks left to this series. Grab these last few posts while you can...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Thank you, Erik. I hope you found something helpful.

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  7. I always enjoy Karen's Editor Spotlight series.

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    1. Hi Stacy! So do I...it's a wonderful service she provides for the writing community...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Hey Stacy. Thank you for the comment about the Editor Spotlight. I haven't done a new one of those for a while. If anybody knows an editor that would like to be featured on my blog, send them my way!

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  8. This was a great post, Karen. It was full of good advice. I especially liked the advice of comparing editors to see if you mesh. I didn't know you could do that!
    http://www.debhockenberry.com

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    1. Of all the advice I can give, that is one of my strongest suggestions - know your editor. Don't just Google "editor" when you are ready to publish. Get to know several editors, watch their style, their blog posts, their FB posts, exchange emails, etc. I knew my editor Shawn MacKenzie for years before we worked together on my projects. And I knew when I hired her that we did indeed mesh.

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    2. Hi Deb! I'm like you...hadn't thought about "meshing" editors to my style ot see if they fit but will keep this in mind in the future!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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