February 8, 2012

Why write an editorial letter?

An Editor’s Guide to Working with Authorsby Barbara Sjoholm, is available through the Clinic website or in person and online from several Seattle bookstores. In 2012, we’re happy to announce the eBook edition for the Kindle and the NookHere’s an excerpt from Chapter Five, “Why Write an Editorial Letter.”

An editorial helps me organize my thoughts about structural issues in a long manuscript. Rather than scribble down remarks and opinions piecemeal, on the paper or digital pages of the novel or memoir, I try to gather up the threads of my main points, using examples, lists, and quotes to buttress my arguments. Writing a letter, like writing any logical essay, offers me practice in saying precisely what I mean. I have to think as I write, and that forces me to articulate my thoughts so that, if and when I have other communication with the author, I’ve already summarized for myself what the issues are and can meet the author’s questions and concerns with confidence that I’ve thought the problems through and have a plan. 

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