Nearly all my editing clients use words like intuitive, seer or psychic to describe my feedback.
Maybe it’s because I have a keen ability to read and interpret verbal microexpressions. Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing and editing for 30 years. Or maybe there really is something multidimensional about my ability. I don’t know.
What I do know is that the text tells me everything I need to know about what it wants to be, and what it needs in order to fulfill that.
Often (not always), the text also tells me what challenges the author faces. My editing goes beyond the rules of structure and story into how the text lives and functions as its own entity.
When I read a manuscript, I take in a great deal about the author – far more than what’s on the page. Some of that is my job; some of that is just the way my brain operates.
One of my personality quirks is that I see patterns where others apparently don’t. Those patterns, in turn, can help me to understand what challenges an author might be facing.
For example, a defensive tone, revealed through syntax, vocabulary or pacing, might indicate fear of judgment or lack of confidence. Passive voice might be a basic writing mistake, or it could point to a hesitation to fully commit to the statement at hand.
It’s not particularly woo-woo: Our subconscious minds take in millions of bits more information than our conscious minds; I believe intuition is simply logic based on subconscious information, and the way I work allows insights to bubble up from my subconscious.
It takes a great deal of time and contemplation to articulate exactly why something feels off to me, or to provide a logical rationale for a subconscious insight. Yet my experience is that clients appreciate this depth and feel that I’ve really understood them as people – not just as words on the page. And invariably, this approach leads to stronger writing and a stronger manuscript.