Hi there, I’m Grace, one of SmashBear’s many editors, and I’m here to tell you what it’s like in a typical work day for us.
Now, first things first, gotta make that coffee. For me, there’s just no brain power without it. I obviously can’t speak for all the editors on that front, but since working from home, rolling right out of bed to the coffee machine has been a dream. Once I’m feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the work can begin.
At SmashBear, each piece of work has a whole team working on it. Authors have the difficult job of not only coming up with the concept (does anyone remember Lisa Simpson’s classic ‘writing is the hardest thing ever’ meltdown?), but also actually giving their work up for critique by strangers. Kudos to them, because it’s tough.
Knowing that you are responsible for bringing someone else’s vision to life is daunting, because you want to make them proud and not step on toes too much, but at the same time, you want to do your job well.
As an in-house editorial team, we all take a week or so to read through the entire manuscript, before coming together (virtually, of course) to share our thoughts. This first discussion focuses heavily on the aspects of the book that need heavy development; character adjustments, plot holes, unnecessary exposition content, additional information. None of this is discussed because the work is bad, we just want the book to be the best that it can be - it’s literally our job. The publishers pass the developmental suggestions on the author who then makes their first rewrite.
Once that gets back to the editors, it’s our time to shine. Kitted out with my editorial toolkit (cheesy, but important), I have everything I need to do my job well. This toolkit includes not only general knowledge of spelling and grammar, but also more intimate knowledge of typical plot conventions, the house style, and the author’s own personal voice (having a solid handle on all of these different elements of what you need to address when your editing will make this whole process easier, trust me).
We take alternating chapters and go over them, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, painstakingly keeping our eyes peeled for any errors or inconsistencies that would ruin the reader’s experience. We work closely with the author, suggesting out edits and working collaboratively along the way to the final version. Comments, suggestions, and days of work all add up to an ongoing discussion and (oftentimes) a drastically different novel than what was originally presented to us. We pass this off for the final stages of development, then you can get your hands on SmashBear’s latest story to enjoy.
You may have noticed that throughout this article, I’ve discussed a whole process, rather than a typical day. There’s a reason for that - no one day is the same in editorial work. We have the skills that we need to upscale any manuscript (even if it’s just correcting missing grammar or the odd typo). The pride and passion that we have for our work is displayed in the quality of the final product and we love hearing what you have to say. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight, and with that I say, happy editing!