Thursday 9 May

Editing? It’s when the magic happens... with Sarah Palmer

Sarah Palmer Photo

Many writers dread having to edit their work, but it’s an essential part of the creative process. At the meeting we’ll examine all the elements needed when editing any piece of work, including novels, short stories, memoirs and non-fiction. From the importance of the structural edit - including pace, chapter length, viewpoint, beginnings, middles and ends – to the nuts and bolts of the line edit, this session will give you all the information you need to make your work the best it can be.

Sarah Palmer is a freelance editor, working on fiction and non-fiction projects with a variety of organisations, publishers and individual writers.




Review of Meeting


Ian introduced Sarah Palmer, freelance editor and former chair of WSW, to talk about ‘Editing – where the magic happens’. Members can find a full account of her talk and her handout in the members section.

Sarah Palmer worked at Routledge, an academic publisher, then Orion who published commercial fiction, now works as a freelance editor. She has wide experience, including adult, YA and children’s fiction and memoir editing. She works with individuals, corporate clients and for charities, she teaches creative writing at the University of Brighton, gives private courses and from September will be teaching at Northbrook. Her website is  

Sarah has heard the editing process described as a long, dark tunnel. She disagrees. Sarah believes the first draft is the long, dark tunnel; editing lets the sunshine in.

The point of editing is to make the work the best it can be, and that doesn’t always mean make it shorter.

Two types of editing – structural (big picture) and line (fine detail). Structural first, no point in getting a character’s description consistent if you’re going to cut him/her/it!

Next month’s meeting, Thursday 13 June: Harry Benner, (writes Claire in the community), will talk about writing radio sitcom.