Meg LaTorre-Snyder is the editor of a magazine and has a background in journalism, medical writing, and website creation. She is also a literary intern at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. She has written for online publications and local newspapers on a variety of topics, including book publishing, nutrition, healthy living, startup companies, and local politics. She has authored an adult fantasy manuscript and is working on several other manuscripts. In her free time, she enjoys reading long novels, drinking tea by the bucket, participating in musical productions, playing basketball, and reading nutrition textbooks. To learn more about Meg, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.
Since I primarily read adult novels, I tend to also gravitate toward adult novels to edit (and some YA). High fantasy is where my imagination resides, though I also love urban fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. If your manuscript is in a contemporary setting and/or has no magic, then the chances are, your manuscript probably isn't for me. And, because all of our eyes glaze over copious amounts of text, here's what I'm looking for:
- High (and low) fantasy
- Urban fantasy
- Historical fiction
- Romance (with magical elements)
Currently, I'm the editor of a magazine, wherein I also write articles for our online and print magazine publications. My professional writing background is largely in the journalism and technical writing fields, with the topics ranging from book publishing, to nutrition, to pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical conditions, and more. Relating to manuscripts, I'm a literary intern at the Corvisiero Literary Agency and also selectively freelance.
I should say my biggest accomplishment, at this point in my life, was putting together (writing/editing/divvying out assignments) five magazines within a month's time (which is highly unusual in the magazine publishing world). However, I'd say surviving in the publishing world as an intact perfectionist would have to be it :)
I think it's exceedingly important to be able to firstly point out whatever that particular writer is skilled at, whether it's dialogue, action scenes, pacing, etc. We writers are delicate creatures, and I cannot overstate the importance of reinforcing a writer's natural skill set before tackling that which needs improvement.
As to editing the manuscript itself, I'm all about layers. First, I will prioritize the "big picture" stuff (plot, character development, etc.) before jumping to sentence structure and how to build suspense within the framework of your sentences, to then diving into consistencies and grammar stuff. And, like any good editor, the Oxford comma is my philosophy.
Give me your magic! As awesome as this world is and all, who doesn't want to dive into a world filled with magic and limitless possibilities?
But it isn't just about the manuscript. I enjoy working with writers who are hard-working and aren't afraid to tear their manuscripts apart (should that be necessary) and to kick their own butts as they work hard to polish their manuscript.
Starting the story in the wrong place. Today's readers are so vastly different than they were even 10 or 20 years ago. We are impatient, irritable, and annoyingly difficult to entertain at times. Therefore, it is my belief, that most books need to start at the pivotal moment in the story (this doesn't have to be literally in medias res, but in some moment that sets off the series of events for the character). The second mistake I see frequently at my internship with the Corvisiero Literary Agency is that writers, who are so darn excited they finished their manuscript, will send out their manuscript before it's ready. Take that extra time to edit and refine your work. Make sure it glows.
We, as authors, can't be our only editors. There need to be many eyes on a manuscript during the editing process. Workshop your manuscript and don't be afraid to murder your darlings. But also don't be afraid to refrain from applying every single revision you hear. You are the writer and know your story and characters best. Filter through the feedback you get, but listen with an open mind.
Read! You guys probably hear this a lot, and so do I when I'm obsessively checking my Twitter feed and following famous writers and literary agents, but it's SO important. You won't know the tropes to avoid, what's been done (or overdone), and what some of the genre expectations are without having been fully immersed in the literature.
See if your personalities mesh. Depending where you are in the writing process, you may need different types of personalities in order to be able to hear what needs to be done to improve your manuscript. Feel free to ask an editor for samples or about their process as you test out the waters.
Let's be honest, every one of us has emerged after the first draft of one of our stories feeling emboldened by our awesomeness and the perfection that is our story. (I sure as heck have done it!) But in this industry, outside perspectives and objectivism (or as objective as is possible) is key. You need someone outside your world and story who will be reading your manuscript like a reader would and helping guide your story so that it's ready for... well, reading!
You mean what do I do besides reading and writing? Eep! What is life without a book in our hands?
Well, I played basketball in high school and college, so I tend to gravitate toward competitive, athletic outlets. For instance, my husband and I love doing long-distances races, such as half marathons (and I hope to do a full marathon one day!). I also love participating in musical productions and can always be found at a Renaissance Faire during the summer and fall months.
Macaroni and cheese, because you are never too old to eat liquid gold over pasta.