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From Editors WA

On Friday 25 August, four Editors WA members and four budding writers entered the front room at the Centre for Stories somewhat tentatively and nervously. They took their name stickers, and stood slightly awkwardly, making small talk as they waited for the event to begin. 

They were all here to speed date. 

The night opened with a quick explanation of the three overarching types of editingstructural editing, copy editing and proofreading – and some thoughts about what sort of services editors might offer to creative writers depending on their publication goals. More than just editing, our team of editors might be able to offer mentoring, beta reading and manuscript assessment services. 

Our editors took their seats first before the writers took seats at random in front of them. And the timer began. They had just 7 minutes to talk with each other. The authors talked about their writing projects, the genres they wrote in, what stage of the manuscript development they were up to, and what they were looking for in an editor. Our editors listened and offered their professional advice, explained their own experiences and background, and began to build some rapport with the writers. At each 7-minute interval, the alarm went off and the writers moved to the next table, until they’d had a chance to talk to all four editors. 

Sometimes when the alarm went off, you could see writers weren’t ready to move on. They lingered in their chairs until the last possible second, desperate for those few extra seconds to talk with their editor. By the end of the speed-dating segment of the session the room was filled with a creative buzz and the nervous tension was gone. 

Afterwards, we pulled all the tables together and sat around for an open discussion. The discussion started with the importance of having a good rapport between editor and writer and why it’s important to trust each other. The editors at the table addressed some of the common misconceptions about our workthat we’re here to impose on the writing, that we’re pedantic to the point of erasing a writer’s creative voice, or that we insert our own ideas into the writing. 

Editor Liam Selby impressed upon them: “It’s not about finding the best editor; it’s about finding the right editor”. A statement that each editor at the table heartily agreed with. 

As the night ended, writers requested business cards from the editors and were reluctant to leave as they kept talking about their projects with the various editors present. It was a wonderful opportunity for the editors and writers to connect, and hopefully in time, they may get to work together too! 

Thanks go to editors Bethany Andersson AE, Liam Selby, Ingrid Waltham AE, and Ricky Wulfse for their expertise and lively involvement.