Rebecca Heyman has been a freelance book editor for the last ten years. One of the things she’s especially good at is evaluating a novel, from the big picture down to the level of sentences. It’s a tough job. A novel is complex machine with so many moving parts, it’s impossible to keep entirely in your head at once, even for the person who is writing it.
To do this, she says, method is important. “People say, ‘I’m just too creative for that,'” she says, referring to some clients’ resistance to mapping out a story and planning ahead. To that, Heyman says, bull.
“Creativity needs a container,” she says. “You can’t just let an author’s mind spiral into the abyss.” That’s what a story is anyway, isn’t it? It’s imposing order on events where there isn’t any in real life. Strangely, though, this artifice helps us to understand real life better.
Heyman is also the founder and director of The Work Conference, a boutique writing conference that held its innaugural event in New York City in March of this year. She brought together two dozen writers, along with literary agents, guest authors, and editors, for discussions of craft and strategies for writers to improve their own writing.
Heyman is the owner of Rebecca Faith Editorial, and she’s based in the Boston area.