Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein

First, a disclaimer: Cheryl was my editor when the Chanters of Tremaris books were published by the Arthur A. Levine imprint in the US.  I must confess that when I received my first communications from Cheryl, I pictured her as a motherly, middle-aged lady, probably with pearls or bi-focals on a string around her neck. This will teach me to make generalisations based on names alone, because in fact Cheryl is a very hip, witty, glamorous, young professional about town (her town is New York -- sigh!) Maybe I should have guessed when she sent me those Captain Underpants erasers to make corrections on my manuscript.

Three things became immediately apparent as we worked together. Cheryl is a) very thorough,* b) completely lovely, and c) very smart. She has a knack for putting her finger on the exact word or phrase that isn't quite right, and clearly (and kindly) explaining why.

Ever since I had the privilege of being edited by Cheryl, I've followed her blog, Brooklyn Arden, where from time to time she would link to various talks about writing and editing that she gave at conferences. I printed out several of these talks to help me clarify my thinking about drafts that weren't quite working, and kept them by my desk for easy reference. So imagine how pleased I was to learn that she had decided to collect all her talks together and publish them as a book!

Second Sight: An Editor's Talks About Editing, Revising and Publishing Books For Children and Young Adults is exactly what it says: a collection of talks. At times this means that the same ground is covered several times, but I don't think this is a flaw; it just serves to hammer home the points that are really important. This is not a book for a beginning writer; most of the advice is for those who have a workable first draft completed, but want to make it better. Second Sight offers clear, sensible and sometimes inspirational advice, as well as practical tips for revising. It's almost as good as having Cheryl herself looking over your shoulder.

Though it's probably not as good as having a cup of tea with her. Which is something I still hope to achieve one day.

* Like me, she is both a Virgo and a Horse, which might be one reason why we worked together so harmoniously.

No comments:

Post a Comment