About Penny FreemanAuthor, Editor, Wordsmith
“My editor made me do it.”
It is a universally acknowledged truth that an editor is an author’s worst nightmare. . . . At least, so one hears when authors discuss the changes imposed upon them by their publishers. When writers come away with that impression, editors have not done their job properly. The author should feel empowered and in control. He/she should understand that the editorial staff is on his/her side. They want to maximize his/her work’s potential, not hijack it.
Every writer deserves a good editor, just like a fruit tree deserves expert pruning right before spring to maximize its yield. The best editors aren’t bullies but guides, mentors, coaches, and cheerleaders. They are always medics and triage nurses, binding the wounds they inflict when the writer opens the landmine of their edits and it explodes red ink. (Think Mrs. Weasley’s howlers of Harry Potter fame and you’ve got the right idea. That’s pretty much how it feels the first time you receive notes.)
The editing process is traumatic, especially for freshman writers. Good editors prepare them for it. They never leave their victims hemorrhaging on the battlefield. They are there, right beside them, ready to patch them up again, set them on their feet, and bustle them back into the fray, confident in their ultimate victory.
Sometimes, editors are oracles or treasure hunters, opening the author’s eyes to the possibilities he/she has created but has failed to see or develop. However, always, the ultimate decision is the author’s. A good editor not only has the vision, but the ability to illuminate those ideas for the author. The best editors inspire, not bully.
When functioning properly, when nurtured and developed, the writer/editor relationship becomes the most powerful tool in the author’s arsenal. Here are a few of the authors I am privileged to call “friend.”
author of speculative fiction
Working closely with Penny Freeman on my latest release was not only a learning experience but also an absolute pleasure. She masterfully critiqued the content of my story, as well as offered line edits that helped streamline for effect. My novel would not be nearly as good without her invaluable feedback. Her personal integrity shows with every interaction, and I feel honored to have worked with such a talented individual.
Penny Freeman was the first editor who really dug into one of my short stories with me, and through several rounds of edits brought out the gem hidden beneath the rough exterior. As an inexperienced fiction author, I was stumbling my way through stories and needed pointers on how to focus and tell a story minus all the fluff and beginner writing mistakes. Penny not only brought out the best of the story, she gave me a first-rate education on the editing process and what it is meant to accomplish. I am a better writer today because of her editing and educational skills.
Author of Speculative Fiction
My name is Ben Ireland, author of the Kingdom City series and two short stories. I’ve worked with Penny Freeman closely on several projects through Xchyler Publishing since 2014. Brilliant and insightful, she is an absolutely outstanding editor who helped bring out more in my stories than I knew was there. I found her edits not only improved what I had written, but they helped me to discover depth in the story that I had suggested but not explored to it’s potential.I unequivocally recommend Penny as an editor.
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