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Writers vs. Editors: Uncomplicating the Complicated Relationship

  • L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library 400 Eau Claire Street Eau Claire, WI, 54701 United States (map)

No writer likes to be told to "cut this" or "change that."  After all, shouldn't the writer know the work best?   But what happens when a sharp-eyed editor enters the process?   How can this additional voice influence the work?  

Though the relationship between writers and editors can often feel adversarial, it needn't.  In fact, it can make for a better piece--when both sides are listening.  Join Volume One editor Tom Giffey and writers Karen Olson and Cathy Sultan for a candid conversation on how to navigate this important relationship for the benefit of the work.

Karen J. Olson, a freelance writer for over twenty years, has worked with editors at the local and national level in magazines, anthologies, and books.  She has written inspirational, informational, and technical pieces as well as chapters for other authors’ books (creating a scenario with both professional and ... ahem ... amateur editorial suggestions).  She has ghostwritten various works, which is an entirely different editorial dynamic, and has even worn the editorial cape at times. 

Originally from Washington, D.C., Cathy Sultan moved to Beirut with her Lebanese husband and two children in 1969. Civil war began in 1975. After eight years under the bombs, they returned to the US in 1983. Her memoir, A Beirut Heart: One Woman’s War, was published in 2005 and  awarded Best Autobiography by The USA “Best Books of 2006.”  Next came two books of nonfiction on the Middle East.  In 2013 The SyrianSultan’s first work of fiction was published by Calumet Editions in Minneapolis. Damascus Street, the sequel to The Syrian is due to be published in April 2018.  

Tom Giffey is the managing editor for Volume One.  In addition, he previously served as the editorial page editor at The Leader-Telegram.