If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview with Susan Ferguson Part Two

Interview with Susan Ferguson Part Two

Susan Ferguson, editor and writer

Tucson, AZ


You were telling us about your experiences as an editor.

I find editing deeply engaging and enlightening. While some parts of it -- the reviews of spelling, punctuation and grammar -- must certainly satisfy the English instructor in me, I also find that I love tracking and analyzing how other writers assemble their work. When I edit a manuscript, I feel like I am journeying on a path created by the writer and that I must observe and remember everything along the way in order to learn something from the journey -- and the writer. I feel like I am the first one who has ventured on the path since the writer created it, and seeing that new world is a delightful experience. If I can make recommendations that will help the writer help the reader better appreciate the new world the writer has created, I feel like I will have made a significant contribution not just to the writer's work but also to the reader's understanding of the work.

When I read your work I find I am quickly engaged in the story on a sensory and emotional level. What are some of the ways you do that?

I have always been a details person. Since I was a little kid, I have engaged my sensory skills and my memory to "record" the objective elements of a place or event. My mind is cluttered with "images" of places, people and things that I want to believe will be useful someday -- in conversation, in writing, in other creative endeavors. More importantly, however, is the way I reflect on and analyze an event after I have experienced it in order to understand how the elements of the event influenced my emotional reaction to it. Being able to tie together the sensory elements of a situation with the emotions that resulted from it is my way of reaching some sort of conclusion about and coming to terms with the experience. This combination of sensory detail and emotional connection is strongly linked in my writing.

Are there different types or levels of editing?

Most definitely. On a fundamental level, there is copyediting or line editing, which focuses on the identification and correction of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. It may include a basic analysis of style and format for consistency. Some editors will include basic fact-checking at this level. Some writers (and editors) may refer to basic copyediting as proofreading, although proofreading generally doesn't take place until printers' "proofs" have been created and a manuscript is on the cusp of becoming a printed book.

As we move up the editorial complexity ladder, we find substantive editing, which focuses on matters of clarity, organization and consistency of style and content. Editors who provide substantive editing services are looking at content, form, style, voice and structure; at this level, fact-checking is definitely included. Modification of content and/or reorganization of sentences, paragraphs or sometimes whole sections of the manuscript may be necessary to achieve a more effective manuscript. Any questions that arise during this level of editing are usually directed back to the writer for clarification or correction, so it is important that the editor and writer have a good working relationship. There are different levels of substantive editing; again, it is important that the editor and writer have a solid working relationship in order for the editor to understand what steps she can take to improve the work independently and what steps require the involvement of the writer.

Some editors specialize in permissions editing -- contacting sources (particularly in nonfiction works) to seek authorization or permission to use specific materials. Other editors focus on index editing -- creating an effective list of contents so that the text can be used as a reference work or textbook. Some editors specialize in fact checking and research -- reviewing factual references for accuracy and attribution. Other editors specialize in a topic or field, using their professional expertise to help writers with accuracy and correctness. I am a generalist, with specialized skills in writing development, teaching and editing.

Developmental editing can be complex or simple. Many developmental editors work with writers to generate the theme and content of a manuscript when the writer has an idea but may be having trouble focusing on a specific aspect.

Other developmental editors work with writers' early drafts and recommend changes to organization and style in order to help the writer develop content. Still other developmental editors may concentrate on research and revision as a way of helping writers expand content. Developmental editing requires a good working relationship between writer and editor.

In the years I have been editing manuscripts, I have met and worked with at least two types of writers: those who believe that every word they have written is sacred and cannot be deleted without much angst and debate, and those who trust the judgment of an editor who says, "This word/phrase/sentence/paragraph/section about ___________ is not relevant to the passage/work and can be changed or deleted." I want to believe that a writer who hires an editor is doing so because he or she trusts the judgment of the editor, not because he or she wants to engage in a power struggle over the suitability of a nonsensical cliché in the middle of an otherwise well-written passage. The writer who hires an editor just to get someone to oooh and ahhh over every word might as well save his or her money; a good editor will make recommendations to improve a work.

I had some great help with my writing but your comments and suggestions sound most like I made them myself. How do you capture another writer's voice?

Maybe this is the result of all those years of being a journalist and listening to the different "voices" of interview subjects. As a journalist, I believed it was important to acknowledge the unique style of speech, word choice, sentence structure and overall organizational system of each person I interviewed so that I could convey the source's style in the articles I wrote. As an editor, I "listen" for these same elements in the writer's voice; when the style changes for whatever reason, I try to recapture the writer's original voice in the recommendations I make to the writer.

--Ferguson Editorial and Design at www.fergusoneditorialanddesign.com

--Ninth Month Publishing at www.ninthmonthpublishing.com

Inquiries about editing services can be made by dropping me an email at ninthmonthpublishing@gmail.com or filling out the contact form at


Thanks for inviting me to Writer Who Kill, Warren,

Thanks for sharing so much information about your writing editing, Susan.


Warren Bull said...

Susan, Thanks for the interview.

E. B. Davis said...

Susan, when you edit a piece of fiction using Word Tracking, do you expect a clean copy back from authors?

Sue Godat Ferguson said...

I use Word's "track changes" system in two situations:

1) Some writers do not want me to make actual changes to their text. They want to see recommendations where changes SHOULD be made; they want final say over whether the changes meet their needs. I am more likely to use this method when I am editing a text for content and accuracy instead of editing for grammar and punctuation. I return the "tracked changes" manuscript to the writer and the writer decides whether to make the recommended changes. I usually don't see the manuscript again after I have returned it to the writer.

2) The second situation in which I use the "track changes" system is when I have been authorized by the writer to go ahead and make the necessary changes/corrections to a text. In this situation, I use the "track changes" system to make all manner of changes (content, accuracy, punctuation, grammar, spelling, consistency) and then I save the "tracked changes" file so the writer can see where changes have been made. I then "accept all changes" and create a final clean/corrected final file to give to the writer. I also give the writer the "tracked changes" file so he or she can compare the clean, final file to the original file to see where changes have been made.
I hope this answers your question.