Saturday, 28 June 2014

What do editors look for? Alison Tyler

 Wait. What time is it? Can you believe that I’ve been editing erotic books since the early 90s? Holy fuck, how did that happen? Over the years (and the 50+ anthologies), I’ve become fairly adept at knowing right away whether a story is going to work for me. How? Simple.

1)     Catch me with your opening sentence. I’ve noticed that some writers take a few paragraphs to get started. Check your piece to see whether your true opener is lurking halfway down the page. 

2)     Proof your work. Not only for errors, but also for sloppiness. One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of word repetitions. A well-known writer subbed me a 2,500-word story in which “slip” appeared 14 times (slipped, slipping, slippery).  Nothing is that wet. 

3)     “It” is another of my sticking points. Look for “it.” Replace “it.” Grab a thesaurus if you don’t know another word for “it.” 

4)      Are your characters shouting, giggling, chortling, whispering, moaning, groaning, howling, whispering, or grunting too often? Ask yourself in the rewrite. “Said” can go a long way. 

5)     Kill me with your closure. Your last line is as important as your opener. Make me sit back and sigh with your brilliant culmination.

Now, back to the grind, at

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