January 12, 2012

Editors Roundtable: Introducing Marta Tanrikulu and Beth Stokes

Marta and Beth live on opposite coasts, in the Bay Area and Boston. I met both online, several years ago now, during Author-Editor Clinic online classes. (I actually got to meet Marta in person last September when she came to Seattle for the Red Pencil in the Woods conference put on by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.) Both challenge my thinking and my editing in the best way, and have become colleagues I count on for support and feedback when I need it. —Kyra Freestar


Marta Tanrikulu
How long have you been doing developmental editing for authors?
Three years as independent editor; earlier I did developmental editing for technical authors in a corporate environment.

What is your favorite thing about developmental editing?
Analyzing how a story is coming across and why.

What are your favorite genres to edit?
Speculative fiction, mystery/thriller/suspense, historical fiction. I was drawn to all of these from a young age, and while I read almost any genre with interest, these are the ones I still tend to gravitate to first.

What was your favorite book when you were 13 years old?
That was my phase of primarily reading science fiction and fantasy, so my favorite must have been Andre Norton’s The Zero Stone. I spent the last few weeks when I was 13 absorbed in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but was not quite done reading it when I turned 14. (My memory isn't really this good; I confess to having a note tucked away with the date I finished the trilogy, appendices and all.)

What’s one thing you hope your editing clients say about you?
Worth the investment.

What’s one thing about yourself that you think would surprise your editing clients?
Perhaps my interest in other cultures.

Coffee, tea, or chocolate?
Chocolate.


Beth Stokes

How long have you been doing developmental editing for authors?
Not long—about two years, and as my schedule allows. Even though my academic background is in literature and journalism, I spent a long time writing for business, shaping large systems of technical information into coherent narratives. Eventually my skills grappling with large systems converged with my original loves of literature, reading, and writing.

What is your favorite thing about developmental editing?
I love foremost that anything can happen in a book. And then I get my personal kicks by bringing analysis and organization to that book’s unique systems of meaning. I think of myself as an ethnographer who’s more addicted to reading than travel.

What are your favorite genres to edit?
Literary fiction because I love to read it, along with speculative fiction, sci-fi, historical fiction, and genre fiction. Editing memoir is pleasantly challenging because there’s more attention to the author-editor relationship. I’m also drawn to creative nonfiction, but that doesn’t come across my desk frequently.

What was your favorite book when you were 13 years old?
My 13-year-old self was living in France and had very limited access to English-language books. I vividly remember devouring The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes, which my parents must have picked up at a yard sale from a departing American.

What’s one thing you hope your editing clients say about you?
“Beth saw straight through to the essentials of my story. Thoughtful and plain-spoken, she made it easy to see where to polish.”

What’s one thing about yourself that you think would surprise your editing clients?
I’m into cars, and have had some unusual vehicles for a mild-mannered editor, including a homologated/GTO rally car, a 40-year-old Saab, a first-generation Insight, and a motorcycle. All at once.

Coffee, tea, or chocolate?
Chocolate: morning, noon, and night.


[Note: Roundtable editors Nancy Wick and Julie Van Pelt were introduced on Tuesday. Come back next week for introductions to four more editors on our panel: here and here.]

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