NuWriters Sheds Light on What Editors Really Do

Editors use red ink to make your writing polished and beautiful.

By Shelley Widhalm

NuWriters presents a light, upbeat behind-the-scenes look at the work editors do during a panel discussion with two Northern Colorado editors.

Bonnie McKnight of Lady Knight Editing and Shelley Widhalm of Shell’s Ink Services discussed their editing philosophies and experiences with nuWriters. Executive producers Annie Robbins and Stacy Schubloom hosted the 20-minute discussion, “Behind the Scenes: Tips from Professional Editors,” which aired May 11, 2021.

“NuWriters is a podcast connecting avid readers with new authors,” Robbins and Schubloom said. “(We) support emerging voices and believe there is a reader for every book.”

Tools for Writers

McKnight and Widhalm discussed the importance of hiring an expert editor and their personal philosophies about editing, then shared a couple of things that sets them apart as editors.

For instance, Lady Knight Editing includes coaching services to give writers advice on the writing process and to help them get their manuscripts ready for publication.

“With writing coaching, I help writers make progress on their writing goals, whether they’re in the idea stage, in the middle of a manuscript or polishing up a draft,” McKnight said. “It’s like having a personal trainer for your writing muscles.”

Widhalm’s self-published nonfiction book, 50 Tips for First-Time Authors, offers tips on the writing and editing processes and paths toward publication.

“I want to let writers know that though writing is hard, it also can be fun,” Widhalm said about her book, which she self-published in 2020. “It doesn’t have to be some overwhelming, daunting task but can be broken down into chunks, such as writing for an hour a week or setting a page or word count goal—basically, just get out the rough draft and worry about editing later.”

McKnight and Widhalm also shared a success story of their work with a new author and gave some final thoughts about editing.

“A professional editor serves as the bridge between your brain and the reader’s brain,” McKnight said. “Things that seem completely obvious to you can get lost in translation with the words on the page, and an editor will help you see what’s gotten lost. This applies to big-picture concepts like plot or structure and character as well as small things like typos or confusing sentences.”

Prepping for Editing

Writers can do some of the editing work by taking their manuscript through a couple of revisions and sharing their manuscripts in a critique group or with a critique partner.

“An editor knows the rules and style guides to make sure your work is clean, polished and ready for submission to a literary agent, small or mid-size press, or a self-publishing platform,” Widhalm said. “Writers spend hundreds of hours on their manuscript and want to present their best product, and editing helps with that.”

NuWriters is a twice-a-week podcast that offers chats about books, interviews with new authors, and tips of the trade for writers ready to publish. The podcast is available on Spotify, Pandora, Google Podcast and ApplePodcasts.

To view the podcast, visit PODCAST for book discussions and new author interviews | nuWriters

Note: I provide editing, writing and ghostwriting services and can help you perfect your project from an article or blog series to a short story or novel. I also offer consultations on writing and editing through #ShellsInk at

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