A Novel Attitude, Hawaiian Egret
Editors aren’t all insensitive grouches like this guy.

The word “novel” is an intriguing study. Under one definition, novel is new, original, intriguing. Under another, it’s a  long, imaginative story. A Novel Attitude is about both. 

As a professional editor, I’m used to advising colleagues and clients on all sorts of non-fiction writing projects: theses, dissertations, research papers, journal articles, news articles, press releases, resumes, brochures, magazine stories. I understand these projects not only because I’ve read hundreds of them over the years, but also because I’ve written many of them myself. I’ve viewed many of these types of submissions from the other side of the table, too. I know how reporters think, how recruiters think, how editors think because I’ve been in their shoes before. While I don’t particularly believe that kind of experience is necessary to do my job well, I do think it informs my position in dealing with clients.

As I turn to working with budding fiction writers, I often hear the same complaints that I heard in the non-fiction realm. We pesky editors just don’t understand their genius. Nonsense. It’s a question of priorities. When writing for publication, readers come first. End of story.

Since I do, however, recognize that successful fiction authors are expected to put themselves through a grueling amount of work in order to get that first published book, I’m not unsympathetic to the position new writers commonly share. In order to help them better, I’ve chosen to put myself through the same paces I’m asking of them, sharing updates along the way. It isn’t easy. Novel writing is work.

Are you up to the challenge?

A Novel Approach

After years in print journalism, academic editing, and corporate communications, I’m ready for a more creative outlet. I’m writing my first novel and brushing up on my mad procrastination talents.

Today, I’m a married exchange mom in the middle of nowhere interesting. My home is perpetually noisy, cluttered, and full of dog hair. To say it is the sort of blissful, dreamy writer’s retreat where one cozies up to a bay window with a cuppa and a notebook and scribbles all afternoon would be inaccurate most days. I live in the real world, where the phone is always ringing and people want dinner.

Despite having more ideas than time, however, I’m determined to give fiction writing a real shot. I have at least four novels in various stages of progress–mostly terrible progress–at the moment. Let’s see if I can finish one of them.

Under one definition, novel is new, original, intriguing. Under another, it’s a  long, imaginative story. A Novel Attitude is about both. 

The Lowdown

I started as a general reporter in rural news, several months after I first wandered in to my hometown newspaper office, fresh from my personal fast-food hell, and asked for the job. After several years of learning the news business from the ground up, training as a press photographer, copy editor, and layout designer, I decided to go back to school and finish my print journalism degree.

Before finishing college, I began transitioning into home-based work, focusing on research and editorial assignments. I spent a year editing academic research and business documents for an international clientele. I took up managing the human resources and payroll office for my partner’s company.

My reporting work has garnered numerous state-level industry awards, including honors for best column writing, government reporting, in-depth investigative reporting, and freedom of information efforts. In addition to writing for rural news outlets, I have interned for New West and freelanced for The New York Times. I now hold a print journalism degree from The University of Montana School of Journalism. I am also trained in six style manuals–Associated Press, Chicago, MLA, APA, Turabian, and CSE–and have worked with other style guides, including Harvard, upon client request.

At present, I serve as president of my local adult literacy board. I have been an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association for the past three years. I would love the chance to help you with your next writing project!