Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pickin' an Editor's Brain!

Have you ever wondered what happens to a writer’s work after it has been submitted to an editor? I have too; serendipity guided these questions to my willing Editor, Dan Stoten, who is also the Founder of The Punk Archive. I feel that it is important for writers to comprehend the nature of the business; with regards to red-lining corrections -- it is not personal but; a technique used to ensure that proper business needs are consistently met. I personally feel the role of an Editor is quite the difficult task; think about it for a moment, you are the one responsible for taking someone’s work and pairing it down if need be. Making those types of decisions takes courage; we as writers may or may not agree but in the end it is about ensuring that all business needs are properly met! As stated in The God Father “It’s not personal, it’s just business!”

Rania: As The Punk Archive started to prosper so did your role from writer and founder to editor; was this a natural transition for you or was there a little struggle during the interim period?

Dan: I can’t say I struggled with it. In a previous life I was the joint-editor of the music section of a student newspaper at University: so it’s not something I’m not used to. However, there is an interesting shift in your role when you become the Editor: I now find I actually have more of a logistical role in terms of getting gigs sorted for my writers, sending out the promo records for review and so on as opposed to actually doing the writing.

Rania: What do you look for in a writer?

Dan: The most important thing is a genuine passion for music. As long as you have that, everything else can be learnt. Some prior experience of writing, or at least a keen willingness to do it, is also very helpful.

Rania: What do you feel is a common mistake writers make with their submissions?

Dan: I am genuinely fortunate to have a brilliant team of writers who actually make my job as Editor pretty easy! Typically I like to let my writers have creative free-rein. Each of my writers has a different writing style and I want to keep it that way.

Occasionally it’s minor spelling and punctuation issues, and some formatting bits; other than that, though, not too much at all really!

Rania: How do you deal with conflict; specifically when you feel that someone has totally missed the mark with regards to a writing assignment?

Dan: Again, this is one I haven’t yet run into. I absolutely trust my writer’s views on an album and am acutely aware that, and will continue to promote the fact that, a review is a subjective piece of writing.

Rania: Do you find it more difficult to be a writer or editor and why?

Dan: I find it harder to be an Editor. As above, the last thing I want to do is suppress my writers’ creative streak and style: it can be tricky if there is a substantial amount of editing needed.

Rania: As an editor what do you feel is the most essential piece of advice that you could give to emerging writers?

Dan: Good question. To be honest, I would recommend writing on something you’re passionate about. I have found this is when I’m at my most natural, and I think that the more natural the writing, the better it is.

Rania: At present, The Punk Archive has a pretty good selection of writers; did you find it difficult to attain writing services?

Dan: It is tricky. There is so much out there nowadays that our voice can sometimes get lost amongst the online clamour. Equally, due to our size we’re not able to incentivise our writers other than with new music or gigs: we rely heavily on our fabulous volunteers.

Rania: How much of your writers review/interviews do you edit for The Punk Archive blog?

Dan: I review and edit everything which comes in. It depends on the piece itself as to how much of it needs editing! Typically it's minor edits.

Rania: How do you ensure that your readers are not bored with the content posted on The Punk Archive?

Dan: Good question - I have no measure of this other than by looking at viewing figures!