Editor Interview with Jenn Waterman

Hello Jenn, 
I’m delighted to do this interview with you. Yay!How would you describe yourself in a third person bio? Jenn Waterman is a passionate person about most things in her life, not afraid to shed tears or throw words around when needed. In the most simplest way. Otherwise, a complicated mess.  LOLTell us an interesting fact about you. I began whelping my own litters of puppies when I was about 13 or 14 – I’d have to ask my parents for sure because I have the worst memory in the world. Been hit in the head too many times!

Have you always been an editor? Not always, but I suppose it’s been inherent in me. I would always find things that weren’t correct. Friends in school eventually stopped asking me to review their papers for just a general opinion because I would critique and edit out of habit more than anything. It ended up being something that I realized with my situation with my severe migraines that editing could be more than just the obnoxious person who focuses too much on detail. It ended up helping my ex with his business as well, and I don’t regret the decision I’ve made to do editing for work.

What’s your favourite part of editing? I think being exposed to different genres (I don’t really have anything that I look to stay away from), and I’ve met some really strong indie authors, and in some cases, forged some friendships. It’s always nice to have your opinion sought out too 🙂 I mean, who doesn’t like their ego boosted now and then?

When you read a manuscript, what do you look for? I only had a few months where the responsibility of choosing whether or not to take on a manuscript, and honestly, I’m kind of glad not to be doing that full time. But most importantly, I think, there has to be structure and you should be able to go to the author and ask them questions either about the plot or character (or the back stories) and the answers should be there. It’s understandable to have things not be 100% because then everything would be like attempting to wade throughWar & Peace before Tolstoy made his own edits, but an author, in my opinion, should know things about their characters. You never know if it’ll matter. Some action on page 5 may not jive with something on page 105 and if there’s nothing that’s happened within the manuscript and there’s no internal monologue, the reader is going to call you out on that, so even if it’s a sentence to say why (somewhere along those 100pgs) that character is woozy on an issue. Just things like that. Consistency, is the simple answer!

What types of writing do you edit? Any particular styles or genres that you favour (for editing)? I’ve edited a variety of different novels and articles, and the only thing that I’m going to stay away from in the future is anything religious-based. There isn’t anything that I favour (I’ll use the UK spelling, how’s that?) otherwise. Pretty much, if it makes me want to keep turning the page as a reader, then I will keep wanting to scroll down and help make the work shine and hopefully make others want to keep turning the page too.

Tell us a little about your company, Modern Elektra EditingIt’s the name I’ve chosen to encompass all the work that I’ve done editing, and some of my writing as well. I started out doing pieces here and there in 2008 and then decided it would be a good idea to have it all in one place. Electra (not the one who murdered her mother and brother, and who Freud named the complex after), in Greek mythology, is one of the Seven Sisters (who are muses). I like the different spelling though, which Marvel used with their character Elektra who is a warrior (and assassin, but we can ignore that bit – I haven’t killed anyone!), which in some way I can identify with. It also means “amber”, and it reminded me of New Hampshire’s autumn season with the changing of the colour of the leaves. And we’re now in a most modern time, and I think writing has moved away a little from post-modernism, so it seemed appropriate. 

How do you go about editing a piece of writing? Do you have a set formula that you put everything through? I would like to be able to read through things before I start, but the only thing that really allows me that is a short story: I get too distracted by what needs to be edited, even if it’s something small, like punctuation. So usually I just dive right through, do the first pass and send it back to the author – accept changes and move on to round two. If we’re going more in0depth with it, there will be conversations about cutting bits down, reasons why a cut or rewrite of something is suggested (it’s not my work, so I try my hardest to keep my own style out of it), but a lot of those I’ve worked with have been open and receptive.

And you also write, too? I do. Though I haven’t really written in a long time. I have a collection, fairly large, I suppose, of poetry that I need to get out there. I have a feeling it’s going to end up being a self-pub, but there may be a lot of research involved there and that’s overwhelming to me. As for my stories/novels, I’ve never managed to finish anything, despite my intentions. Articles, at least in that regard, are much easier…. when I’m writing for myself at least (my webmag, which I SWEAR I’m going to revamp).

What’s your favourite part of writing? And the most important part? Favourite part – getting on a roll and getting a few thousand words out a day, being unable to stop that I’m taking the laptop into the bathroom to me and only grabbing finger food to snack on. Most important part – knowing the history and back story of even the most minute character and knowing each step along the way of the plot, even if it’s something I may end up cutting out.  

Thanks for your time.
– Madeline

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