In this episode in our series on working on what it’s like to work with a writing coach and editor, I ask our coach and editor Matthew Pearl to take a look at my working table of contents – long before the book is finished. It’s a longer episode than usual, so get your coffee before you press play! But, as always, it’s worth listening to him. Here’s my favourite bit from this episode:
Different editors have different styles. And it really is a personal choice for the writer to see what works best for them. If I find things that are out of place or things that really don’t work, I don’t think criticism is the way to go. It’s rather, suggesting how to rearrange things, how to move things around and knowing when to say, “I need a better explanation of that”.
My style is to say: What can I do with things that are in front me with the fewest adjustments to get the message across that the writer wants to get across.
I don’t care about how I would write your book. I’m going in as really a very active reader and one who wants the best experience possible with what I’m reading.
My suggestions to you are always: “Say more here”, “I like this point”, “Does this relate to what you said in Chapter 4, is that the same kind of humor?”
I’m interested in and excited about getting you to use that brain that’s creating this wonderful writing. I’m there to just sort of draw a line and then ask you to explain it. And that makes it so much more enjoyable for me – that’s why I do this. – Matthew Pearl