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papers and notes

Revising short stories. I made a flash card for each story to help move them around to a realistic timeline.

Editor Jackie Cangro

Editor Jackie Cangro

What’s your ideal workflow to work with an editor? This is not a question I had asked myself before I retained the editing services of Jacquelin Cangro. However, if I ask myself that question now, the answer would be, “The way Jackie Cangro works.” (You may remember Jackie from her recent guest post on coming to your work with a new perspective for revisions. Feel free to visit that post at the previous link and ask questions in the comments. Jackie will answer them!)

I wrote a short story collection a handful of years ago. I sent a few stories to Jackie back then and found her feedback spot on. She picked out things I was wondering about, plus details I hadn’t considered that would make the stories better. (The collection as a whole remains unpublished, but I’ve published a few stories from that batch since then.) Fast forward to this year, and my latest collection of short stories (a prequel to my first one) needed to get polished before I felt ready to start querying for an agent.

Here’s how I worked with Jackie:

  1. Heads up. I reached out to Jackie about a month before I knew the manuscript draft would be ready. She sent along options and fees and we set a target date for when I would send my work to her. I initially wanted to send her the draft before my trip to England, but I had more feedback from my critique groups that I needed to apply so I picked a date after my trip in mid-June.
  2. Detailed notes and response. Around the Fourth of July Jackie sent her notes. Let me tell you about her notes: they are thoughtful, on point, highly detailed, and she prepared notes on the overall collection as well as individual responses to each of the fourteen stories. Her responses recognized themes I intended to include, as well as other threads that I had only noticed after the collection was fully drafted. The way she summarizes the stories will be a tremendous help as I draft my query letter. In addition, she asked if I had any questions after reading her notes. I did and she answered them via email. She also offered to have a…
  3. Skype session Q&A. Now that I am done applying Jackie’s suggestions to my stories, I have time scheduled with her next week to go over the lingering questions I have.

What’s your experience working with editors? Do you have an ideal workflow?

My collection is as good as can be at this point in time, so I’m starting my query and agent process. More on that later this month.

P.S. This was a belated post that I intended to publish in July. I’ve been posting updates on my short story collection during the last week of each month for the past year. Editing takes a lot of bandwidth. My regular posting here has been a lower priority!