Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What to Look for in an Editor by Mike Hartner

A wonderful lady spoke at Surrey International Writer’s Conference a few years ago.  Her name was Lisa Rector.  Lisa is one-half of a major dynamic duo that includes Donald Maass, the principle behind the Donald Maass Literary Agency, and a writer of bestselling books on how-to craft better stories.   She’s also the principal in a major editing concern in New York City called

She started her talk off by saying “Congratulations, you’ve now finished writing your manuscript. Now what?”  And then telling us that to make our novel the best it could be we’d need a really good editor.  Her point about an editor was that while they were there to point out weaknesses in your writing, and spelling, and context, any editor worth their salt would spend at least half of their time telling you What is Right about your novel.  Nobody wants to get a report that says, “your writing is crap, and this aspect needs changed, and that one as well..” and as a writer, you shouldn’t be subject to that.  GREAT editors know where to support your writing, and will let you know where it is great.  They will also know where the writing needs to be fixed and give you ideas as to how it can be done.

When I heard these comments, I immediately thought of my editor, Rob, and his reports back to me over several manuscripts over the previous two years.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, instantly, that I had the right editor for me.  Rob knows when to tear down scenes, and when to suggest how to improve them.  And he knows how to mentor, and talk about ways to improve the writing.  I lucked out finding him, and Lisa Rector confirmed through that talk that he was the best editor for me.

Oh, and that’s important.  For me. Robert L. Bacon,, is an accomplished author, and a great editor.  He and I work together very well.  And I have no doubt in my mind that he will work great with nearly anybody.  But, if you have an editor you like, and are already working with, then that may be your choice.  Or if you have one that doesn’t measure up, then you need to look other places.  Editors are as individual as agents and writers.  Some work better than others.  So don’t be discouraged if you need to find a second or third editor.  You will find one.  Try first, and I’ll bet you won’t change, though.

I Walter
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Genre - Historical Fiction/ Romance
Rating – PG
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