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I got my master’s degree in Book Publishing from Portland State University. Not only did I take editing courses with some of the best editors in the area, I also got to work at Ooligan Press for the two years I was in the program. Ooligan is a small, independent publishing house run out of Portland State. We publish two books a year and the entire operation is run by grad students. Grad students are completely behind all decisions from acquisition to editing to marketing as well as cover design; my program taught me a lot about editing, but it also gave me hands-on experience in the publishing industry.
To read? Crime fiction or the classics. To edit? I quite honestly don’t have a favorite. I love to do developmental edits on any piece of fiction, and I’ll copyedit anything–fiction, nonfiction, essays, emails–I’ve done a bit of it all!
This answer might be colored by the type of books I read on my own time. The first to pop in my head is, of course, JK Rowling. The woman’s world building is phenomenal! Tana French’s writing pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page. She’s a great writer; I’m always underlining when I read her books. Nora Roberts writes a futuristic detective series under the pseudonym JD Robb. No one is better at fleshing out characters than her, and she and JK Rowling are the two best world-building authors I’ve read. Does Margaret Mitchell count as “our time”? She wrote the best book of all time, in my opinion. I may or may not be naming my kid Scarlett.
I love to read. I asked myself (and my English advisor) what sort of jobs allow a person to read all day. Editing also appeals to me because I love the idea of officially being a part of the lifestyle I’ve been in love with since I learned to read. I have no authorial ambitions whatsoever, but contributing to the industry by helping others make their stories the best they can be is incredibly rewarding. I found Portland State’s program and never looked back!
“An editor, like Elizabeth, she not only finds simple grammatical errors, spelling errors, she finds content errors. Whether you are using the wrong name of a character or there is a gap in the plot, you simply will not see it yourself. She spots all of those things and turns a piece of writing into a polished piece of work.”
“I think repeat business is as high a praise as I can give anyone. So Elizabeth got a second book from me in under six months. I will not submit anything without having Elizabeth read it.”
“Elizabeth, she was extremely professional and her perspective was helpful to me. First, she read the entire book. She asked questions; they were relevant questions. Then she sent me work in two and three chapter chunks. I thought the product was very good, I was very pleased with it.”
“It’s a legal thriller, so it includes courtroom scenes. She is not a lawyer, but she understood the emotional impact. She got where it was going. I mean she traveled with the character. I think that was important and it showed.”
“For a recent fiction project, our small literary press, Sagging Meniscus, had to deal with a particularly thorny manuscript. The sort of linguistically innovate, sui generis, post-Joycean text. It required, from an editor, not just a discerning application of conventional rules in a conventional situation, but plenty of sophistication, reflection and judgment. A further twist was the original typewritten MS. It had been run through OCR software and was full of sometimes bizarre errors that had to be carefully distinguished from the author’s not-frequent, intentionally neologistic departures from normal English. Elizabeth brought all the understanding, thoroughness, and depth of experience as a writer and reader that it called for. It was completed remarkably quickly. She was an ideal collaborator, and we certainly hope to work with her on future projects.”