Three Simple Questions: Question 3

The Participants

Koraly Dimitriadis is the author of Love & Fuck Poems (Outside the Box Press), the play I say the wrongs things all the time, and the director and producer of Koraly: A Mockumentary.

Tess Evans is the author of The Book of Lost Threads, The Memory Tree (Allen & Unwin), and Mercy Steet (HarperCollins).

George Ivanoff has written more than 90 books for kids and teens, including the RFDS adventures (Random House), the You Choose series (Random House) and the Gamers trilogy (Ford Street Publishing).

Julie Koh is the author of Capital Misfits (Spineless Wonders), a capsule collection of short stories, and the short story anthology Portable Curiosities (UQP).

Ryan O’Neill is the author of the novel, Their Brilliant Careers, and the short story collection, The Weight of the Human Heart (Black Inc). His next book is The Drovers’ Wives (Seizure).

A. S. Patric’s debut novel Black Rock White City (Transit Lounge) won the 2016 Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of the short story collection Las Vegas for Vegans, and the novella Bruno Kramzer. His follow-up novel, Atlantic Black is due out later this year, and next year will also release a new anthology, The Butcherbird Stories.

Inga Simpson is the author of Mr Wigg, Nest, Where the Trees Were, and (the soon-to-be released memoir) Understory (Hachette).

Laurie Steed has had short stories published extensively and teaches Advanced Fiction for Writers Victoria. Look out for his first novel, You Belong Here.

How’ve you been keeping up with our authors? Nodding your head in agreement? Empathising? Learning something new? Or do you feel differently?

Remember, these are accomplished authors, and they represent different facets of writing. You’d have to think that they know – at the very least – a little bit about writing to have gotten to where they are today.

One of the best things you can do as a writer is learn from the wisdom of others. That doesn’t mean you have to do exactly as they do. Every writer has to find what works for them – that’s the qualifier: what works for you. Sometimes, this takes a bit of trial and error. But it’s worth seeing what’s worked for others, and seeing how you can integrate that into your own methodology.

Well, here we go with our final question for our authors …


What do you want to get out of an editor?


Koraly Dimitriadis: ‘I am a really honest writer so I need brutal honesty from my editor. But I also need them to understand that I will listen to their advice but at the end of the day I am going to follow my own creative instincts. Having said that I have been told I am quite flexible!’

Tess Evans: ‘Most important to successful editing is mutual respect. The editor needs to understand what the book is about and to engage with it in the spirit in which it was written. If this is the case, the editing process can be collaborative, challenging and enjoyable. Both author and editor want the book to be the best it can be, and the author, who can’t read her/his work objectively, has to be open to suggestions. I like an editor to be rigorous. After all, a lot of people (I hope) will be reading the novel with my name on the cover.’

George Ivanoff: ‘Feedback. Direction. A kick up the backside.’

Julie Koh: ‘My ideal editor is someone who has an anal grip on grammar; pinpoints the lazy parts I thought I could get away with; helps me resolve wording that I just can’t seem to get right; and suggests changes that would never otherwise have occurred to me but that make total sense.’

Ryan O’Neill: ‘That they are on my wavelength, and see what I’m trying to do, and help me do it. I’ve been very lucky – every single editor I’ve ever worked with has been fantastic, and saved me from embarrassing myself with errors and mistakes many times. God bless editors.’

A.S. Patric: ‘An editor is much like a personal trainer for an athlete.’

Inga Simpson: ‘I think a great editor helps make a book the best it can be. More true to itself, rather than less. Editing is a creative process, too. It requires highly developed skills and a certain sensitivity.

‘I’m lucky enough to have worked with the same editor for all of my published books, who I admire very much as a person as well as an editor. It means that there is so much that doesn’t need explaining, and any conversations about sensitive areas or changes are easy. I feel like everything is my choice, rather than something imposed on me. But if she comes back to me a second time on something, I know she feels it needs changing.’

Laurie Steed: ‘For me, editors have always been great at spotting any inconsistencies, or repetition in word choice, and, for the most part, they’re the reader I need, although not always the one I want, given their capacity to spot an area for development! To be clear: every editor, bar a rare one or two, have made my work better for their insight. Some, sadly, have hung up their freelancing pencils for full-time gigs (hello, Natalie Book!), while others, such as Nicola Redhouse, Amanda Curtin, Susan Midalia, and Perry Woodward, are still making books better, even as we speak. With that said, you get out what you put in, to some extent … which is really a roundabout way of saying that an editor should be there to strengthen your already fine work, rather than bring you up to speed.’

Throughout this series, we hope you’ve learned something about both the different approaches to writing, but also the commonalities.

A huge thank you to every one of our authors for contributing.

Next week, we wrap up the Three Simple Questions series!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *