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Editing

The Privileges and Difficulties of Editing Greatness

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I’ve had the privilege of editing the work of writers who have published many books and have come to Delphinium later on in their careers. Editing a master is very different than editing a new writer. Established authors have managed to stay in the game for decades and beyond their sheer talent, they’ve had to develop a dogged perseverance to keep writing and publishing despite the success or failure of their previous books. Not to mention the fact that each of these authors have had bad experiences with editors who, while admiring their work enough to publish it, perhaps never digested it fully enough to be able to edit carefully and successfully. Being a writer myself and watching the relative…

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A Lesson in Online Dating…er…Finding an Agent

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Finding an agent is akin to dating online. You research which agencies to send your query to much like you’d decide which app to download the most fabulous pics of your cute self (if you’re single, of course). You read the bios of agents who represent fellow writers of your genre the same way you’d scan a potential partner’s profile for similar interests. You read about the authors they already represent. Is the potential mate in it for a booty call or a long-term relationship? Do elements of a story excite them? Do physical attributes align with your personal preferences? Is the book made with the stuff that’ll keep them engrossed to the point where they’ll “miss their subway stop?”…

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So, You Want to be a Writer? Keep Reading!

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I’m sampling canapés at a party when someone walks up with a J.K. Rowling gleam in their eye. “I hear that you’re an editor. I have this great idea for a book, but I’m not sure how to get started. What do you recommend?” As I stifle the urge to fling the hummus in their general direction, I recommend those classics that I’ve long used for classes, writing workshops and myself: On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (Harper Perennial, 2006) by William Zinsser, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (Anchor, 1995), and Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg (Shambhala, 2005). For guys, I’ll usually toss in Stephen…

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Novel Concept Episode 8: Michelle Legro

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A good writer is nothing without a good editor. In this episode, host Rachel Carter speaks with Michelle Legro about what it means to be an editor at a major publication. Legro worked as an editor at Lapham’s Quarterly for years and recently took a new position as the culture editor at New Republic. She’s also a writer and her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Believer, and Tin House. Legro and Carter share tips on what magazines are looking for, on how to write the perfect pitch, and on the unique relationship that exists between writers and their editors.

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