Finding the right freelance editor is a complicated thing. Beyond the fundamentals of qualifications and the strength of their story-craft, it’s a relationship which requires a kind of intimacy and trust deeper than we might have with many of our family members.
How many people would you hand the child of your creation to and say “Study this in minute detail, without fear or favour, and tell me what’s wrong with it.”?
Ann gained my confidence with a simple technique. She cared. Deeply. I don’t mean she cared about me (though she did, and I now consider her a friend) I mean that she cared about the outcome of her work on my manuscript.
This is something I’ve discovered is all too rare in these days when anyone with a computer can offer services to writers whether they have the skills or not.
The basic mechanism of editing is this: the editor gives advice and the writer can take it or leave it. Because of that, many editors consider their job done once they’ve delivered their notes, or perhaps after a single meeting to go over them and allow the writer to ask the first questions that come to mind.
Whether to protect their own emotions or simply because they edit only to pay the bills so they can focus on their own writing, that’s about all you’ll get. Not so with Ann.
Ann wanted to be proud to be the editor of As Long As She Lives as much as I wanted to be proud of being its writer. And I know that Ann doesn’t take on work that she, or one of her staff, can’t get behind in that way.
She takes time to discuss her notes with you because she wants you to take her advice or be clear about why you choose not to – and she’ll push back if she thinks your reason is a cop-out! At the end of the process not only is your manuscript better but you know why it’s better and that makes you a better writer.
Ann and I have each independently described our professional relationship as “a little Bolshie” and that’s exactly what a writer needs, and should want, in an editor. I would not hesitate to recommend her considerable skills and passion to any writer.