7 Questions With Editor Jane Savage
In today’s interview, editor Jane Savage speaks about the truths and myths around the editing business, gives valuable advice to both new editors and to authors who are looking for an editor for their manuscript.
She wasn’t reserved sharing her knowledge so upcoming writers can benefit from her experience, from writing tips to how to prepare your manuscript for an editor and how to choose the right service for your novel (developmental editing, copy-line editing and proofreading).
I have personally worked with Jane and wouldn’t hesitate recommending her for a second. I should also mention that she was my chosen editor after having received edited samples of my novel from over 35 different editors (well established professionals & beginners alike).
Her skills are sharp and while editing Lost in Amber, she was kind enough to email me every week and keep me updated on the process. Her talent, tact and intuitiveness make her an asset for every upcoming and veteran writer.
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Jane Savage: I believe that telling stories are the most valuable way people can connect and communicate, and that’s what drives me to help others tell stories. I’m fresh out of my English degree and am ready to apply my long years of dedicated study of literature to some new authors’ works.
Esther Rabbit: What’s your own definition of a good editor?
Editors use their expertise to help bring a manuscript to its full potential. As such, an editor should have a comprehensive understanding of not only the mechanics of grammar, but also of literary conventions and the craft of writing.
They should understand the rules, but also understand that sometimes, with purpose, the rules can and should be broken.
Esther Rabbit: What are some of the myths around the editing business?
The worst assumption I think I’ve made so far is that I would have to rely on other people in order to start editing – that I’d have to get a job at a publishing firm or at least join some sort of editor’s organization.
Once I decided to just put myself out there and find clients for myself, I found an author to work almost immediately.
Esther Rabbit: What should authors do before handing you over a manuscript?
An author should know what kind of edits they’re looking for (I’m happy to help them figure that out if they’re not sure) and be sure that their manuscript is ready for those edits. We should have discussed rates and turnaround as well.
Esther Rabbit: Could you give authors a few tips on writing?
Read. Read books in the genre you want to write, and read books from genres you don’t want to write. Read new books and read the classics.
Read good books and read bad books. Read stand-alone novels and series and short stories and poetry. Read fanfiction to see what kinds of things readers are looking for and not finding in the original works.
With every new work you read, think about what you like and why – and what you don’t like and why. Is there anything you’d like to see in a story (a certain kind of character, a certain plot, a certain world) that you’re not finding? Do you like a certain author’s style, voice, or word choice?
Writing is a craft, and while it’s never a bad idea to find resources on, for example, how to outline a plot or how to create three-dimensional characters, those resources can only do so much. To really learn how to write, you have to read. And if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.
Esther Rabbit: How many services can you offer authors and how do they differ?
I offer substantive editing, line editing, and proofreading.
A substantive (or developmental) edit is a bird’s-eye view edit. This step focuses on the big picture. Are there plot holes? Are the voices of the narrator and characters consistent? Do scenes need to be cut or rearranged? In other words, substantive editing is about making sure that the story works as a whole and that it’s ready for the next steps.
Line editing happens on a smaller scale. This step is about readability, grammar, and consistency. Here’s where I’ll make sure that the sentences flow nicely and aren’t too wordy, and that the main character’s girlfriend doesn’t have blue eyes in chapter three and brown eyes in chapter thirty-two.
Any confusing scenes will be cleared up, and any wordiness or repetitiveness will be tightened.
Proofreading is the closest kind of edit. This is where spelling, grammar, and punctuation are fixed. This is the last step in the editing process and ensures that the final product is clean and polished.
I’m happy to provide any one of the above services, a combination, or a full comprehensive edit including all three services.
Esther Rabbit: Do you also recommend the authors you have worked with on social media or your website?
Absolutely! I like to promote those I work with wherever possible, and I will always have the project I worked with them on listed on my website, as well as links to where those projects can be viewed or purchased. I also post reviews of the work on Goodreads or Amazon, if applicable.
Esther Rabbit: What’s your favorite genre as a reader?
My automatic answer is fantasy, especially fantasy series that I can get sucked into and stick with for a long time. However, I’m deeply fond of the books you’ll find in the “Literature” section of the book store – you know, Alcott, Austen, Shelley, the Romantic and Renaissance authors. When it comes down to it, though, I think I have favorites in almost every genre.
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