Interview with Meg Trast
Brief bio: Meg Trast is the owner and editor in chief of Overhaul My Novel, LLC.
So, when did you first realize you wanted to be an editor?
I became interested in editing during my college years. I’ve always had a love of the English language, storytelling, and writing in general, but it was when I began taking creative writing classes that I discovered my penchant for editing. Helping classmates formulate and perfect their papers was my first step toward where I am now!
Now that you're working on more than college papers, what kinds of manuscripts do you like to edit?
I really enjoy entourage casts in a fantasy or scifi setting! Stories like The Three Musketeers, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and as a kid I liked the Left Behind series. When an author can create a fun, interesting, and compelling group dynamic, it makes their manuscript so fun to work on!
What's your favorite manuscript that you've worked on?
It would be hard to pick just one, or even a handful, of the many manuscripts I’ve had the privilege to work on. Every author has such a unique and interesting voice, and the same story told by a different writer can be vividly colorful and separate.
Some manuscripts have definitely stood out to me over time, though; C. D. Tavenor has a series coming out in May, the premiere of which is titled The First of Their Kind. The world he has created and the characters he’s crafted are incredibly fascinating, and the narrative lens through which he shares the story of Theren, the main character, challenges what we know and hold to be true about humanity.
I also had the pleasure of working with an author named Gloria Bottelman, whose young adult fantasy series is currently in query, but I will definitely want a copy on my shelf.
I've asked what kind of manuscripts you enjoy editing, but what kind of editing do you enjoy the most?
It’s hard to pick just one part of the editing process that I enjoy, but if I had to say I’d go with developmental editing. I love brainstorming and finding where pieces fit in a bigger picture. In fact, over the summer I plan to start several writing workshops in the Greater Kansas City Area, as well as holding classes and beginning a coaching service. There is no greater joy than to see ideas compile together to create a full picture!
If you enjoy developmental editing, what kind of editing is the most challenging for you? Not the hardest necessarily - just which kind of editing really makes you work your brain?
It might even be that developmental editing is the most challenging part of the process. I think that’s part of what makes it most fun for me. Aside from that, though, working to preserve the author’s voice is always paramount, and it can be difficult to know how the author would change or rephrase something that both helps improve it and keep it true to their style.
Okay, so we know what you like to edit and the kind of editing you like to do. But what's your editorial style? Like, do you only try to make little changes or do you go all in?
How many changes I make to a manuscript depends on the manuscript and the needs and wants of the author. If I see a lot of places where the prose can be improved on a technical front, I’ll make whatever changes I can, with approval from the author. I never add or take anything out really, but I do rearrange or elaborate where possible. I never try to alter the author’s narrative voice, but I’ll make in-depth suggestions for alterations they could make, and I’ll help tidy up those changes or additions once the author has done what they like with the manuscript.
Based on past experiences, how many times does a manuscript need editing, on average?
At least three times, once by an editor and twice by the author. If you count a proofread, I guess I’d say four. An author should do a sort of preliminary “cleanup” of their manuscript before sending it off to be beta read, then incorporate beta feedback before sending it to an editor, then they should go through the editor’s notes and changes to make any edits after that.
Are you a writer as well, or do you stick to editing?
I do write as well as edit! In fact, I have a book coming out July 1st titled Write That Book You Keep Talking About: How to stop planning and start drafting. It’s a sort of anecdotal guide crafted to take new or inexperienced writers through each phase of the writing process, offering my own experience and knowledge as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and, hopefully, inspiration.
Speaking of books - this is a book blog as well as a writing blog! So, what kinds of books do you like to read?
Science Fiction and Fantasy are easily my favorite genres to read. Author Steven Brust has a high-fantasy series I’m currently making my way through that take place in a world called Drageara. I’m also working my way through some of Neil Gaiman’s earlier works. Really what enraptures me more than anything else is a fun and interesting narrative voice. The way that a story is told, the words used to communicate events, thoughts, or feelings, can make or break the book for me. A great author typically has me hooked by the very page of their book.
There you have it! Thank you to Meg Trast for being so willing and helpful in answering all the questions I threw at her. Not all of the answers were integrated into this piece, but I learned a lot from her answers!
If you want to check Meg Trast's website out, click HERE
Look forward to more interviews from editors, authors, and the like soon!