January 17, 2012

Editors Roundtable: Introducing Karalynn Ott and Diane Mettler

Karalynn is one of the reasons the Author-Editor Clinic exists: she was one of a small group of editors who convinced Barbara Sjoholm to think seriously about training for early-career developmental editors who, as freelancers, don’t have peer conversations and in-house supervison to support their learning. Karalynn now teaches the online class The Business of Freelance Developmental Editing for the Clinic several times a year. Diane is, of all the editors on the Roundtable, the one I’ve met most recently—again through an online class—yet she’s been offering professional developmental editing services for authors longer than any of us. She lives in the Seattle area, so I’m looking forward to meeting her in person someday soon. —Kyra Freestar


Karalynn Ott

How long have you been doing developmental editing for authors?
Eight years. Prior to that I was a journalist, mainly writing feature-length stories. 

What is your favorite thing about developmental editing?
That I get to spend a nice long amount of time with a manuscript, and I get to think deeply about it. Also, that I’m a working partner with my author-clients.

What are your favorite genres to edit?
I love character-driven fiction and personal adventure stories. And anything with a little clever, offbeat humor is fun to work with too.

What was your favorite book when you were 13 years old?
We don’t really have to choose just one, do we?

  • Nonfiction: Horsemanship for Beginners (a well-written and well-used riding instruction book, with lots of useful/helpful pictures—I still have it on my shelf). 
  • Fiction: The Call of the Wild, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (I was deep into animals and outdoor adventures even then), Johnny Tremain.

What’s one thing you hope your editing clients say about you?
That they are happy with my work and our working relationship; that I helped them not only better their project, but become a better writer, too.

What’s one thing about yourself that you think would surprise your editing clients?
That one of my first career aspirations was to be a clothing designer. But I was always better at working with words than handling a sewing machine.

Coffee, tea, or chocolate?
Espresso and chocolate ;)


Diane Mettler
Spilled Ink Marketing, and on Facebook

How long have you been doing developmental editing for authors?

I realized I had been doing developmental editing with my writers group since we got together in 1988.  But I didn’t begin doing it as a professional service outside the the group until around 1997 when I began teaching. 

What is your favorite thing about developmental editing?
I love the “light bulb” … when you point out a potential issue or problem. You don’t tell authors how to correct it, but point them in the right direction. It’s hugely satisfying to see the lightbulb go off and the writer see the character or plot or dialogue in a whole new way.

I also like reading the second draft and seeing vast improvement! 

What are your favorite genres to edit?
The books or scripts I’ve worked on have been primarily drama or sci-fi. But I love a good comedy. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many writers writing comedy.

What was your favorite book when you were 13 years old?
Watership Down.

What’s one thing you hope your editing clients say about you?
That not only was their book/script improved with the feedback, but they will approach their next project with new insight.

What’s one thing about yourself that you think would surprise your editing clients?
I had a movie air on Hallmark in 2010, which you can catch around Halloween time —Growing the Big One. It was inspired by my brother’s giant pumpkin competitions.

Coffee, tea, or chocolate?
Chocolate.


[Note: Roundtable editors Nancy Wick, Julie Van Pelt, Marta Tanrikulu, and Beth Stokes were introduced last week. Come back Thursday morning for introductions to the final two editors on our panel.]

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