When I was a newer writer, few things were as helpful as exploring the editing process, once I (or someone else) had been edited. Like comparing the before and after photos of a home renovation, I scoured the draft and the final looking for the changes—large and small—that tapped away at a piece like a sculptor might do to release a stone’s very best form.
Around here, that’s what we like to say great editing is: listening for the absolute heartbeat of a piece and bringing it forward— (which sometimes, actually, means adding a bit more material, not taking it away).
In the beginning, I didn’t have anyone editing my work but me, so I sought places where a person could hang out online to watch editors generously doing a little of that work in the open. I read the gentle conversations around others’ work and learned to replace my own limp adverbs with strong images, to weed out extraneous words, to leave some things unsaid and give the reader a chance to participate more deeply on their own terms.
These are just a few things that build momentum in our writing, giving it a power that keeps the reader wanting to continue reading. When we publish at Tweetspeak, and at T.S. Poetry Press, momentum is the thing we’re looking for—and if a piece of writing doesn’t have it yet, that’s where the editing begins.
We call that process Editor TLC. And now we’re making it the focus of a cool (and fun) live online mini-intensive that’s free for our patrons—so they can become their own best editors.
How Editor TLC Will Work
Every couple of months, we’ll offer a writing prompt to get the process started. It may be for fiction, non-fiction, even poetry. We’ll invite you to write from the prompt, then submit your piece to us for possible selection for gentle but thorough editing that will inspire conversation and reflection—so you can become your own best editor and even learn to edit others’ work if you so desire.
On the night of the online Editor TLC gathering, we’ll offer a short editorial talk that explores best-practice as it relates to the prompt’s center, then we’ll show how we edited one submitted piece in line with that best-practice, and we’ll leave a little time for Q&A—with the aim to have a vibrant, intriguing, writing-altering conversation.
The Editor TLC talk will be given by one of our professional editors, authors, or writing friends. And you’ll want to be sure to watch for a special night coming up later this year, with warm and delightful poet Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, author of poemcrazy.
This opportunity is open to our Tweetspeak Patrons at the following levels:
$1 Patrons: Participate in the prompt and submit your piece for possible Editor TLC (you can choose to have this done at the online gathering without your name attached, if you’re feeling shy)
$5 Patrons: Participate in the prompt and submit your piece for possible Editor TLC, plus we’ll draw five submissions at random that, even if they don’t become the selection to be featured during the online gathering, will be given some TLC by one of our editors. Also get access to a recording of the event.
$12 (and up) Patrons: Participate in the prompt and submit your piece for possible Editor TLC, plus your piece will automatically be given some TLC by one of our editors. Also get access to a recording of the event.
And, of course, if you’re a Patron at any level, you’re welcome to join in for the editorial talk, whether or not you choose to write for the prompt.
(To become a Patron for as little as $1 a month, visit us on Patreon.)
Writing Prompt—For Private Practice or to Submit for Editor TLC
Our first event will be held on Tuesday, June 19, at 8:00 pm Eastern time, with L.L. Barkat as our featured editor.
Here’s your writing prompt for the evening:
Craft a single paragraph that creates unexpected compassion for a character (fictional or real). If the character is not particularly likable, or has a questionable background or future, the compassion you stir might be all the more unexpected. However, you could also write about a likable, steady character. It’s up to you!
Sometimes it takes a little setup to create compassion. If you need to write a few paragraphs to precede the “single paragraph,” feel free to do so. But, be sure identify the target paragraph if you submit it for Editor TLC.
Not Doing the Writing Prompt? Answer These Pre-Discussion Questions Instead
1. Do you think it matters if an author creates compassion for a character? Why or why not?
2. What’s the best example you can remember of a character you felt compassion for? What made you feel compassion for them?
3. In ordinary life, what do you think helps create compassion between people?
Already a Patron? Submit Your Paragraph or Question Responses Now
If you’re already a Patron, you may submit your paragraph or question responses using the form below. (Please submit only once per person, by June 15.)
Photo by Gunnar Marquardt, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by LW Lindquist.