Working at Cornerstones

Posted on Saturday 15th July, 2017

As a writer who thought writing was all about isolation and a boarding-school survivor who set quite easily, and grimly, to ‘getting on alone’, it took me a while to understand the pride and conflict I had around feedback. It was a joy to grow from that and join the editorial team at Cornerstones and start working at the same time as a Cornerstones editor and mentor. I’ve met some wonderful authors along the way and loved brainstorming plot, discussing character arcs and style. It’s a wonderful team and work on the running of a business is threaded with deep discussion of fictional worlds, so I feel right at home. I became Managing Editor at Cornerstones in July 2017 and I’ll be working on new business enquiries as well as developing the business in the UK and the US. We’ve a fantastic team of freelance editors and are working with fiction and non-fiction authors all over the world to provide editorial feedback, support and guidance on the path to publication. The new job coincides with some of my authors getting in touch after several months writing to say they’ve met with or are about to meet with agents and/or getting publishing deals, so I’ve pasted some of their comments in the editing and mentoring pages in case it inspires other authors to get in touch.  I’ve learnt so much since I joined Cornerstones about the fundamentals of writing, how to collaborate in approach, how to think about character in relation to style, plot as you draw closer to character. I’ve been reading books since childhood and writing – or trying to write them – since my early twenties (I think there are now seven under the bed!)  yet still I find so much to learn and the process continues to be absorbing. Most of all though, I love meeting other writers and finding out – in brainstorming sessions, on long city walks or over rowdy dinners – how the people doing this strange, ancient, thing work – how they experience the world on a sensory level and then draw from that experience and convert into narrative. I read a great book recently on how fiction works and where it comes from. The book was FROM WHERE YOU DREAM: THE PROCESS OF WRITING FICTION and its author, Robert Olen Bulter, said plot is very simple: it’s ‘yearning, challenged and thwarted’. I love that. I’ve managed to travel – to read and teach – quite alot with writing now and it still amazes me that a living can be made of it, but everywhere I go I meet people trying to understand the world and their place in it through story and imagination and empathy and the joy of doing it and exchanging ideas about it doesn’t fade. I also think there’s something in the persistence of it – the dogged pursuit of character – that says something, politcally, about resistance, and how we can resist just by trying always to empathetically engage with a character and their story.