Elizabeth Buege is a Midwestern girl with a lifelong love of words. She could write her name when she was two, taught herself to read when she was four, and found by high school that people refused to play word games with her because she always won. After graduating with a B.A. in English writing and internship experience in book editing, she started her own editing business. She picked up some part-time teaching experience along the way, with three years teaching Spanish at a private school and four years teaching secondary writing classes for a local homeschool co-op. Elizabeth loves editing because it combines two of her favorite things: getting lost in books and helping people. When she’s not working, you can find her learning languages, gaming with friends, drinking tea, and making tasty messes in the kitchen.
My taste in books is wide and eclectic, but I decided to be a little more specific with what I’d like to see for #RevPit 2018. If you’re not sure if your book fits my wish list, reach out during my #AskEditor chats!
I want your book if any of the following are true:
- It’s magical realism (NOT the same as urban fantasy!), historical fiction, or a faith-based story. These stories can be written for any age.
- It’s a story of any genre/age category that I got excited about in a mini event OR that I shortlisted in a previous contest (if the latter is true, you’ll have a better shot if you’ve revised since then).
- It’s a character-driven story written for adults. I tend to favor fantasy, science fiction, quirky contemporary, and the genres mentioned above, but I’ll also look at other genres as long as you know and use your genre well and don’t send me the auto-no stories below.
- BONUS POINTS: Your story fits one of the above categories AND one of the following themes: strong friendships, family bonds (especially siblings), retellings of fairy tales and other classic stories, characters dealing with the aftermath of loss/tragedy, and timeless truths of what it means to be human.
What I’m NOT taking:
- Horror, straight-up paranormal (some elements okay in other genres), zombies, demons, or anything too creepy.
- Straight-up romance (but I DO enjoy romance as an element in other genres).
- YA and MG that doesn’t fit one of the first two bullet points above (I generally love reading/working with books for teens and younger readers, but there are some other amazing YA/MG editors this year, so I narrowed my focus).
How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?
The biggest factor is the hardest to quantify: it’s the author’s voice. I get really excited when I read a story where the author writes in a way that feels natural, engaging, and well-developed in terms of style, sentence structure, and basic scene pacing. I also feel most drawn into stories where the opening pages give me a good sense of who the main character is and what they want out of life.
What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?
My first pass through your book will involve a full edit letter (the same one I do for critiques) as well as chapter-by-chapter comments throughout the manuscript. After you make revisions, I’ll make another full pass through the manuscript, with feedback focusing on whatever your story still needs. I’ll also block out time for multiple passes through your query letter and opening pages. I’ll be available by email throughout the entire process and always ready to bounce ideas back and forth.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
Be ready and able to make major revisions in short windows of time. If I pick your story, it means it’s a good story and that I love it, but that love is going to look like tough love. I’ll be challenging you to deepen characterization and clarify plot elements in situations where there’s not always a “right” way to do so, so you should be ready to think through solutions. The more revisions you make after my first pass, the more constructive the second pass will be. Likewise, the sooner you can get back to me with query/page tweaks, the more time we’ll have for multiple passes on those materials.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
In no particular order, here are some of my loves: I love photography, state parks, and combining the two. I love making huge messes in the kitchen as I experiment with new recipes, with bonus points if the ingredients came from my friends at the local farmer’s market. I love dancing and singing to my favorite songs when nobody is around. I love games, whether tabletop or video games. A surprising obsession from the last couple of years in Minecraft, probably because I get to be creative while taking a break from words.
What was your favorite childhood book and what did you love about it?
This is an impossible question! Books were my main sustenance as a child, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without so many of them. I taught myself to read at age four with the book Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, so I’ll always owe that one some respect. The first full-length book that I literally read over and over again was Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley. I got it when I was ten, and I had read it four and a half times before my mother could get it away from me long enough to find out what I was reading. The setting and language use are so, so rich, and I blame McKinley for my tendency to use overly long sentences to get all of the complexities of my thoughts across. It’s probably also the start of my weakness for fairy tale retellings.