Ralene Burke is another newer member of the writing and editing community. A professional writer since 2010, she added editor to her resume in 2012. Here’s how she got started, why, and how you can connect with her!
Why did you want to be a freelance writer/editor?
I’m one of those that always wanted to be a writer—been telling stories, real and made up, since I could talk. I like sharing stories that make a difference in the lives of others. Editing came about when I needed a way to contribute to our household income and still be able to stay at home. I had been in critique groups for years and was always the grammar queen. It was an easy business to start, and I already had a few built-in clients!
What’s your specialty/focus?
I specialize in fiction—all genres—but I have a soft spot for anything fantasy and supernatural. 🙂
What’s your favorite part of this kind of work?
Helping fellow authors is my favorite part. I enjoy teaching and encouraging writers as we work together to make their projects SHINE!
What’s your biggest challenge?
Time. Seriously. I’m still learning exactly how much I can take on at one time. I homeschool our three children and participate in many of their activities as well (like American Heritage Girls). I also am on the planning committee for two writers conferences, Realm Makers, and KY Christian Writers Conference. My husband is disabled, but he still works full time and goes to school full time. Luckily, he graduates this month, so hopefully I’ll have a little more time . . .
What’s surprised you the most during your career?
How long a full book edit takes! I mean, I should have known since I had to edit my own novels, but editing for someone else is so different. I love it, though.
If you could give a new freelance writer/editor one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find a group of editors to learn from. They’ll be an indispensable resource when you reach those issues that don’t quite fit the examples in the different manuals.
If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I would plan better for life to happen. Now, if I think a project will take me two weeks, I plan for three or four. As a homeschool mom with a disabled husband, all kinds of things come up—including my own burnout from time to time. I need to have that flexibility.
What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?
Writing is still my first love. I get such a high from sitting at the keyboard and developing story and characters. I get the same high from refining and polishing my manuscript. I really don’t like one part better than the other when it comes to writing. Well, maybe when I hit like the 4th draft, I’ll say that first drafts are my favorite.
What does your work space/office look like?
I have my own office, which houses all my books, my sewing/craft stuff (which I hardly touch anymore), and my desk. It has two windows that face the rising sun and it’s my favorite spot first thing in the morning. The walls have different pictures/sayings on them to inspire me as I work. I’m saving up to get an over-sized arm chair to put in there.
What is your go-to snack when working?
Popcorn or dark chocolate M&Ms. I’ve gotten out of the habit of snacking while I work, though, it’s too easy to snack mindlessly. And when I run out, I have to go get more. Baaaaad.
If you could only recommend one editing resource, what would it be? Why?
Just one? Although I don’t currently have it, I would recommend the online version of The Chicago Manual of Style (if you do fiction editing). Then you have access to it no matter where you are. I’d hate to have to carry the thick CMOS around with me all the time. 🙂
If you could only recommend one writing resource, what would it be? Why?
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maas. You don’t need the book that goes with it (though I would recommend having both, but the rules said one). He does such a good job of taking your story and forcing you to go deeper to create 3-dimensioal characters and intricate plots. I use it with all my books.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The first part of my 5-part mini-series, entitled Bellanok, comes out in October! Be sure to check in to find out when! And, yes, I’m addicted to exclamation points—and em-dashes.
Thank you so much for appearing on my blog! Have a blessed day!
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She spins fantastical tales to encourage people to SHINE BEYOND. She has worked for a variety of groups/companies, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients.
Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 5-part mini-series starting in October 2015!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .