the good, the bad, and the ugly about the writing life

Guest Blogger: Diane Piron-Gelman: The Outside Eye–Part 1

This week, I am delighted to offer you the insights of my friend and fellow mystery chick, Diane Piron-Gelman. She’s writing about why editors are the good guys with the white hats.

When I’m not writing, narrating, acting or blogging, I earn a living as a freelance editor. Novels, sourcebooks for role-playing games, comic-book scripts… you name it, I’ve probably edited it. I’ve always been kind of Zen about my job—the text is there and I dive in, letting the rhythm and shape of it show me where the trouble spots are. I am blessed (?) in that typos and spelling errors walk up and slap me.

You want a copy editor with a 99.99 percent accuracy rate, I’m your girl. (This odd little talent makes Chinese restaurant menus an endless source of amusement—or stress, depending on how my day is going.) But editors do more than play spot-the-typo.

We see the line of dialogue that falls flat, the word clutter that bogs down an image, the verb choices or sentence structure that slows down a whiz-bang action sequence and leaves the reader getting bored without knowing why. We also see bigger things: the character whose actions or motives don’t ring true, the emotional moment that needs more oomph, the scene that may be well written but does nothing to drive the story. How does an editor spot all that when the author missed it? After all, doesn’t the author know her own story best?

Well, yes and no. You, the author, do know your own story best—except when you don’t. Which is where an editor comes in.

Tune in later this week, when Diane explains more about what an editor actually does for your manuscript and your story.

Diane Piron-Gelman is a writer, audiobook narrator and editor, and sole proprietor of Word Nerd, Inc. You can check out her business website at; her author website at; and her personal blog, Word Nerd Notes, at

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