Danielle Anderson is a freelance editor who has worked on various written works, from blog posts and magazine articles to memoirs and collaborative books. She is passionate about helping both new and experienced writers produce the best version of their stories and get their message out into the world.
Do you have a mantra or phrase you live by? What is it?
“Editing is an art, not a science.” I’m a firm believer that editing is about knowing not only whether a sentence is grammatically correct but also whether or not it needs to be fixed. A run-on sentence, used correctly, can communicate the feeling of being overwhelmed. A series of sentence fragments can depict the frenetic environment of a battlefield. Sticking too firmly to the rules closes you off from exploring the full potential of your writing.
Of course, context is key. If you’re writing your PhD thesis, you’ll likely want to follow the rules pretty closely. But if you’re bringing any kind of emotion into your writing, I think bending the rules is perfectly acceptable and perhaps even necessary in some cases.
What is your number one priority when it comes to your career and daily work?
My number one priority is finding the right balance of voice and tone. Books would be much more boring if they all sounded like they were written by the same person, so I think maintaining an author’s voice is very important.
However, your writing also has to sound appropriate for the occasion. I once read an article that compared it to choosing your outfit. There’s a wide variety of clothes that are suitable for a business dinner, for example, but a bathing suit likely isn’t among them.
Knowing your audience and adjusting your tone accordingly goes a long way in making your message as impactful as possible. So, I consider addressing that a very important part of my work as an editor.