Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ya hoo! Bill Wolfe, the extraordinary blogger/reviewer at Read Her Like An Open Book, has opened an editing service, Argus Editorial Services

 See that smiling face above? That's Bill Wolfe, one of the best literary citizens I know. He truly supports writers and he runs this highly acclaimed blog Read Her Like An Open Book where he reads and reviews books only by women. How cool is that? And now he is opened Argus Editorial Services, and being a literary citizen myself, I want to support him and tell everyone you can't hire anyone better (or kinder or funnier.)  Thanks for letting me interview you, Bill! And everyone, visit:

Why did you decide to start this business?

 I decided to start an editing business when I left my job as a high school English and Journalism teacher after 19 years. I was unhappy with school politics and ready for a new challenge. And my primary skills involve reading, writing, and editing. I’ve been teaching and using those skills every day for the last two decades as an English teacher and Journalism teacher/newspaper adviser.

Who would benefit from Argus?

Argus Editorial Services is open to any writer, publisher, business, or nonprofit that needs help improving the quality and clarity of their writing. I suspect a majority of my clients early on will be women simply because I’ve been publishing a blog about literary fiction by women for 3 ½ years. And that’s fine with me. The future that has belonged to women is now the present.

What are the most common mistakes writers make?

The most common mistakes are the type of mistakes we all make. Even the best writers. No one is perfect. It really does take a team to produce near-perfect writing. That’s why writers have editors and agents, and newspapers, magazines, and websites have a staff to maintain quality control over their communications. Good writing is rarely, if ever, achieved alone. I see mistakes in subject-verb agreement, usage, and punctuation, as well as problems with repetition of words and phrases. The author is too close to the writing, so he or she can often no longer see it clearly. But most of all, I see unpolished writing: a good idea awkwardly expressed. My job is to smooth it out, clarify it, and then polish it so it shines the way it should.

Do you have a preference for the kind of writing you like to work on?

]I like working on virtually any kind of writing. I’m curious about everything, and I always learn something from the writing I edit. I enjoy all kinds of fiction, most nonfiction (especially travel, politics and history, biographies, and memoirs), and even technical or industry writing in areas in which I have some interest or expertise. I just enjoy the process of reading and editing. I like seeing a piece develop and fulfill its potential, much like watching a student blossom into a better reader, writer, and thinker. Both are very gratifying.

What's obsessing you now and why?

I’m always obsessed about something (or several things). I think that’s something that writers and editors have in common; we’re obsessive-compulsive by nature. Lately, my obsessions concern the presidential election, various socio-political issues (especially gender and minority group issues), and baseball (Can the Dodgers make it to the World Series for the first time since 1988? No? OK, can the Cubs win the World Series for the first time since 1908?).

What particular strengths do you offer as an editor?
I’m equal parts reader and writer. I occupy both roles while I work. As a reader, how am I responding to this work? Am I engaged, confused, bored? As a writer, I can see how problems or weaknesses came to exist in the writing and then determine how best to remedy those issues. I have an eagle eye for mistakes; they jump out at me like a flashing neon sign. (And yes, I realize that “eagle eye” is a clich√©, and I would not allow it in a piece I’m editing.) Finally, I believe in transparency. I maintain an open line of communication with the writer so that together we can create a polished and effective piece of writing.

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