Who are the best fiction editors in Scotland?
I've said it before and I'll say it again – finding the right editor for your writing can be tough work.
There are so many to choose from, and it's definitely not just a case of finding the cheapest and going with them. Choosing your editor is the start of a relationship – whether it's for one short story or a series of fantasy adventures – so you want to get it right first time and avoid the tears of regret (and the expense) that a bad choice could bring.
Your work is your baby. You've spent months, possibly years, crafting your characters and plotting your, er ... plot.
Can you tell that I don't edit fiction?
(Although I don't edit fiction, I do proofread it – if you're not sure of the difference, check out my blog post Do I need a proofreader or a copy-editor?)
Of course, in the age of the internet your editor can be based anywhere in the world, and you can still have a fantastic working relationship without ever meeting them in the flesh.
But you may have very valid reasons for preferring to work with someone more local:
- You may need someone familiar with local geography, culture or language.
- You may wish to meet your editor before deciding to work with them, or at various stages in the editing process.
- You may prefer to support home-grown talent and a local business.
So where do you find a great fiction editor in Scotland? You could trawl the internet, but to save you that time I've put together a list of five great fiction editors based here.
Why do I say these are the best fiction editors?
Without going through an editor's work, looking at before and after examples of what they have done, how can I tell if an editor is good, or even the best?
I've based my list on a variety of factors. Each individual may not tick all the boxes, but will have at least three of the following five criteria:
- they specialise in fiction OR devote a significant proportion of their time to working with fiction authors
- they have testimonials from satisfied fiction clients
- they teach other editors about fiction editing
- they are committed to their own professional development
- they write themselves, and so understand the creative process
So here they are, five great fiction editors based in Scotland – in alphabetical order by location – ready and willing to help you bring your writing to life.
Katherine Trail, KT Editing, Aberdeen
Kat specialises entirely in fiction, and particularly enjoys crime and romance. She has an editorial assistant in the form of Daisy, the Editing Spaniel. Kat offers manuscript critique and line and copy-editing, and she can also help you with formatting for ebook publication. She has a background in journalism, having been the chief sub-editor at the Press and Journal in Aberdeen before focusing on fiction editing.
Gale Winskill, Winskill Editorial, Aberdour, Fife
Gale is an experienced fiction editor, having worked as a freelance editor overseas and then in-house with a publisher before starting her own business in Scotland in 2008. She specialises in general adult fiction as well as children's fiction and picture books. Gale recently project-managed and contributed to the Introduction to Editing Fiction online course by the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and taught a pre-conference course of the same name in 2015.
Maria Hampshire-Carter, Auchtermuchty, Fife
Maria has an extensive background in all aspects of editing and publishing. Her focus with literary fiction is in nurturing both the text and the author. From critiquing structure, plot and characterisation to editing, proofreading and formatting for self-publishing, Maria's aim is to provide a seamless service for an author throughout the entire publishing process.
Stephen Cashmore, Cashmore Editorial, Ayr
Stephen has a background in accounting, and is just as at home working with complex narratives in fiction as he is with the complex financial systems of his former career! He works on all genres of fiction and offers reviews of style, characterisation, pacing and plot as well as editing, proofreading and formatting for submission to an agent or for self-publishing. Stephen is currently the Training Director for the SfEP, and taught on their pre-conference training course, Introduction to Fiction Editing, in 2015.
Sara Donaldson, Northern Editorial, Wick
I'm pretty sure Sara is the most northern editor on the British mainland! She specialises in historical fiction and non-fiction, as befits her background as a professional genealogist. Sara offers manuscript critique, developmental editing, copy-editing and proofreading, and she is also a trained indexer. She writes a popular blog and has recently completed a course in creative writing with the Open University.
What do you think? Would you use the same criteria when looking for a fiction editor? If not, how would you go about finding the best editor for your writing? Or maybe you already have a fantastic fiction editor – how did you go about finding them? Was it an easy process? Let me know in the comments – I'd love to hear your thoughts.