I hail from the film world. Something I've discovered is most moviegoers tend to forget after a film ends that all those names in the credits are actual human beings. It's easy to think of them as shadow people. After all, most of us will never have the chance to meet them, nor ask what it was like to work on such productions.
I've found books to be much the same. Truth be told, I used to skip straight to the story, rather than look at the credits page.
I know better now.
In preparing Salted for its release, I've been blessed with an amazing team of talented individuals and their unique talents. Today, I have a special treat for you! The eagle-eyed copy/line editor of Salted, Jennifer Wingard!
There was a fair bit of confusion for me beginning the process of finding an editor. I only thought there was one kind. Didn’t know the difference between content editor, copy editor, line editor, etc. Can you break it down for those not-in-the-know what your role as a copy/line editor is vs. that of a content editor?
You’re certainly not alone in your confusion. I like to think of editing as an assembly line process. Things are slightly different in the traditional publishing model, where you’d start with an acquisitions editor, but beyond that, it’s fairly similar. First you get an editor who fixes your plot and story lines - the content editor. They handle the big picture and get all your characters sorted.
Once that’s finished, I come in. I handle all the grammar, punctuation, spacing, spelling, and wording issues I find during a read. I also do a fair amount of fact cheking. Not all copy/line editors do fact checking, but I’m anal, so I do a lot of it. Being an encyclopedia-reading nerd comes in handy at times. ;)
Obligatory question: What’s your fave part about being a copy/line editor?
My favorite part? I’d have to say I love knowing a manuscript is going out to the world with some panache. I like to imagine the books that leave my desk are sort of like William Thatcher on A Knight’s Tale. They may have humble beginnings and lack the backing of the noble elite in traditional publishing, but at the end they get to go head-to-head with the best and the worst and say “You have been weighed. You have been measured. And you absolutely… Have been found wanting. Welcome to the New World. May God save you, if it is right that he should do so,” to all the error-riddled books they fight for position against.
Aaron aside: Can I just say how much I LOVE this answer. Fantastic movie!
What song best describes a day in the life of a copy/line editor?
Just one? Oh, you do like to make my life difficult, don’t you? I have an ever-expanding soundtrack on constant loop in my head. One. Hmmm. My Chemical Romance’s “I’m not okay (I Promise)” would sum it all up pretty well, I suppose. :D
You were one of the writers for Allegories of the Tarot. What was that experience like?
Well, darn. If you want a one-word answer, the only one I can think of has an f-bomb plastered right in the middle because it was that fun. But I’m going to keep it PG, censor myself, and adjust to fan*freaking*tastic. I think I upset several people with the hasty wrap-up on my story, but I got a kick out of it because I liked the old biddy’s shell-shocker and imagined a good old family brawl once the characters all picked their dislocated jaws up off the floor. Seriously, though, it was a blast and I got to edit the stories for the other contributors as well, so getting to be one of the first readers made the entire experience even better.
If memory serves, you received the Judgment card. What made writing about that particular card special, and/or where did you look for inspiration?
It was the perfect card for me. I tend to make the dreadful decision to do the right thing and it frequently blows up in my face. I’m just fortunate doing the right thing hasn’t been a deadly judgment call. Yet. So my inspiration was my own screw-up nature…and my mother-in-law.
If you could meet any character in fiction, whom would it be and why?
You’re nosy, aren’t you? How the heck can someone choose just one? This may not make sense to anyone but me, but I’d like to meet St. John Rivers from Jane Eyre only to cosh him on the head and tell him to stop being so darn logical because logic is a lonely companion. And boy, does he need a companion - one he would find completely unsuitable because the dude is about as exciting as toenail clippings and he benefit greatly from some carnal activity.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Oh dear. I don’t know what the title would be, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it couldn’t be said on network television.
What is it like having to deal with crazy writer personalities all the time?
See answer three. Some days it’s Rainbow Bright and Strawberry Shortcake in cartoon land. Other days it’s Game of Thrones and Rubber (a movie you’ll never be able to unwatch) and you’re certain no one will make it out alive at the end. I should point out I’m a fan of both understatements and hyperbole. You choose which is which in my examples.
Tell any future writers coming your way what you look for in an ideal client.
Editing sometimes feels like you’re kicking a baby. It’s every bit as hard to send a rough edit to a client as it is for a client to receive a rough edit. Essentially, I look for clients who leave the arrogance at the door. No one wants to work with an arrogant jackass. I live in joy because I have some of the best clients in the world. Seriously. I’d take a hundred more like the clients I have now.
Have anything you’d like to plug? A certain book perhaps? ;-)
I'm pretty content to just be, but you should probably check out Allegories of the Tarot.
Learn more about Jennifer, her editing services/rates, and the Tarot anthology here.
Author. Actor. Rascal.