November 17, 2011

Engaging with a manuscript, a writer

The fall online classes at the Author-Editor Clinic are drawing to a close. My own class, the eight-week introduction to developmental editing, has shifted over from working on novels to taking a look at memoirs. Last week we considered chronology and moving around in time. This week the subject is narrative shape and pacing, and one of the things we try to get a handle on is where the story slows and where it speeds up. We’re also thinking about what gets included in a personal memoir. When the stories are close to the author’s heart and there’s an emotional attachment to relating exactly what happened when, how does the editor step in with a red pen, talking about tightening and shaping the narrative? These kinds of questions are issues I never get tired of discussing, because they are at the core of what it means to engage with a manuscript and the person who wrote it.

The class will be repeated this winter and is now open for registration. Dates are January 11 – February 29, 2012.

—Barbara Sjoholm

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