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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Editor Interview : Michelle Gent, Editor, Author, Movie Producer

Author, Editor and Movie Producer, this lady has done them all! Though she claims that it was all about being in the right place at the right time, she sure has a way with words. And editing them too! 

She says that one must 'NEVER give up – on writing to please yourself, on reading what you enjoy, on listening to advice' but taking it all down with a pinch of salt. She also has advice for the editor, wherein an editor must not alter storylines, characters, plots etc without speaking to the writer, first. I have only one thing to say to her, 'Yes Ma'am'. Let's read on...

What are you looking for in a book, when it first comes to you?

Storyline, characters that can be believed and empathised with, and most of all, a
connection between the storyteller and reader.

What, according to you are the qualities of an ideal writer?

A storyteller/writer has to be able to create a world and/or a situation that draws the reader in to the extent that they feel the characters’ experiences.

Could you explain the process in detail from writing, to editing, and finally, printing and marketing?

Not in one page, I’d need a book to do that. Personally, I write my stories and then leave them for a while before going back to edit. I see the story with fresh eyes and it’s easier to be critical once the first flush of passion has had time to mellow.

Once I’ve finished, I send my stories out to my editor because,
no matter how good you are at editing, I believe the brain sees what it’s written and thinks ‘I did that, it’s perfect!’ for most of the time.

Only when I’m 100% happy with the end result will it go to print.

As for marketing - Facebook, Twitter, my blog etc. I haven’t got it right yet, so I’m not really the person to ask about marketing.

What are the most necessary things that you would you tell an aspiring writer? (Feel free to include as many tips as you would like)

NEVER give up – on writing to please yourself, on reading what you enjoy, on listening to advice (I said listening, there’s no need to take it ALL on board, weed out the advice that doesn’t suit you, but keep it at the back of your mind, it may ‘suit you’ one day).

Don’t take ‘No’ as the definitive answer. Seek out the ‘Yes!’ and go for it.
Ignore those who say you’ll never make it.

Write for you – no one else matters when you’re writing and if you write to please you, there will be one person happy. If you write to please others, you’ll probably not make them happy and you’ll not make yourself happy.

What do you think an editor could add to the writer’s work?

It depends what’s ‘lacking’. I think an editor shouldn’t be altering storylines, characters, plots etc without speaking to the writer. If there’s something that doesn’t quite work, I give advice and allow the writer to change things. It’s not for me as an editor to do that, that’s down to the writer.

What are you working on now?

I’m just doing the final read-throughs on two books; Brides of Clemmants (F. E. Wharmby) and Redemption (3rd in the Books of Devastation by Daniel D Longdon).
I’m also typing up and editing The Healer (Ken Mathers) and have just finished Memoirs of Insanity (Jay Green). Then I’ll be going back to my own novels and getting them ready to be submitted to publishers by my agent. Cruel… and Unusual will be first as it’s a stand-alone in the series.

Then I have to split Deadlier… than the Male and edit both parts. When I’ve finished with those, I’ll re-visit Blood… on the Moon.

Did you always know want to be a book editor? 

No, I’ve never known what I’ve ‘always wanted to be’ – I do know that I want to be a writer and make my living from that one day.

What sorts of project(s) are most likely to get an okay from you?

Well so far, I’ve edited dystopian apocalyptic Sci-fi, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Psychological Horror, a set of short stories (all genres), Sci-fi, and a semi-autobiographical piece (amongst other things) so I would say I’m open to anything and everything.

Could you tell us about some of your upcoming titles? 

My own titles have been mentioned but I also have #4 in the Wolf series,
Ancients and Gods, then there’s a brand new novel I’m working on about a paranormal detective – Diamonds and Deviants. I have also been talking with a good friend of mine about a collaboration – title not set yet. I have numerous other titles half finished, but the ones I’m editing right now will all be out soon.
Brides of Clemmants is a ghost story with a difference. Set in the late 18th century for the most part, the beginning is a tragic wedding day back in Elizabethan times.
Redemption Follows Jason de Silva through the third book in the series as he fights in the civil war his home world has been embroiled in.

The Healer is a Sci-fi about a man with extraordinary powers.
Memoirs of Insanity is a tale of a young man’s tragic descent into a tale of coping with death and dysfunctional family.

What are your top three favourite books?

I don’t read books more than once as a rule, there are far too many to read, so going back to them means I’m neglecting one I haven’t read yet. My favourites therefore are those that compel me to pick them up again and again – Narnia Chronicles does that for me.

My other favourite is On Writing by Stephen King. It’s a great insight to how he learned his craft and has helped me improve my own.

Then I suppose the one I’m reading at the moment is my favourite for now – Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz – who knows what it’ll be next week.
What is your favourite thing about being an editor? And your least favourite thing?

I get to read these books first!

Typos, grammar, plot holes, purple prose and anything that sets my OCD off – repetitive phrases is a pet hate.

What are the main skills, an editor would need to do their job well?

Attention to detail, fearlessness in correcting things that you just know are going to be questioned, concentration and a love of reading are all essential tools.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Sometimes it’s difficult to not read the story. If I find that I’m reading rather than editing it’s great for the writer because that means I’ve been drawn in. It’s not so good for me because I have to go back and figure out where I stopped working and started reading.

Being a writer, does it help that you can edit your own books?

Yes, absolutely, but as I said before, I don’t rest on my laurels and assume I’ve finished there. I send it out to someone that I trust so she can point out all my mistakes.

My ethos on my writing can be summed up in this:
Point out a mistake to someone and see how they react. A fool with be angry with you, a wise man will thank you.

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