When you set up as an editor and a professional critiquer you of course have to know what you’re doing and having had successes as a writer is only one part of that. Not everyone can teach so there’s an art to learning how to do that well. And there are many facets of editing you have to learn and know to do a thorough job.
Recently, and after a chat to a couple of people who’ve had less than favourable critiques from other people — short bullet-point reports, no detail, no explanation (and charged twice what I do!) it got me thinking about how the business is regulated. Well of course in a way it’s not and sometimes we are taking a chance which is why I suggest you choose someone on a recommendation or with a good track-record, a large reputable agency etc. Luckily repeat business and recommendations forms a large part of my work and that along with client successes is my validation. Approval to work for Cornerstone also, for me, was a way that said the advice I give is solid.
It’s hard when there is an element of subjectivity that can not be removed — but the more you critique, the better you get at seeing issues and the more objective your focus.
Another thing I have often pondered is how university marking, grading papers might vary from the professional approach, i.e. academic versus professional. How do lecturers grade something and is the marking of the ms the same as my editing — after all the end point must be the same — the best story possible — the tightest narrative, good formatting and grammar, use of devices, compelling narrative etc. But there is also the focus in terms of meeting the specific requirements of the set task. And providing an actual mark for it.
So it’s interesting to me that I am now learning how to assess BA Creative Writing papers for some freelance work. Another feather in my cap? And since all the work I do will be moderated by a second marker it is another interesting way, not only to compare forms of assessing a ms, but it also always useful for a writer to have a wide skill set.
Right, a little tutorial is scheduled this morning so have a great day everyone!