Cornerstones alumna and debut novelist Kate Bradley talks about her experience working with Cornerstones, and the value editing partnerships have brought to her writing journey so far:
For me, the worst thing about being an unpublished writer was the frustration of feeling stuck and waiting for change. There were several steps that finally brought about that change, but learning about editing was certainly a major way forward.
My editor at Bonnier Zaffre changed my life; when – finally – I got to write my debut novel acknowledgements, the first person I wanted to thank was her – you’ll have to read the acknowledgements to understand why. But our writing and editing partnership was not my first. My first experience of expert editorial advice came from Cornerstones. Cornerstones helped me shape my manuscript, which then landed me an agent. But through working with them, I wasn’t really just learning about line and structural changes on that particular story, instead the real learning was understanding of the value of PAT – partnership; advice; trust. Working with an editor is a partnership – they bring what you can’t. That’s their job. But in order to access their advice, it’s vital that you trust them. If you can’t trust their recommendations, then it’s not a real partnership – suggestions get dismissed and it risks becoming a purposeless process. Of course, no one should accept every suggestion, but if you don’t trust the advice, it’s harder to accept the tough bits and give up your story to change. And isn’t that the point of editing – change? I’m editing my second novel now; it’s brutal, but now I trust and value the process, I’m pleased to say I’ve never been bolder or braver.
Kate Bradley secured a two-book deal with Bonnier Zaffre, and her debut novel, To Keep You Safe, is out now.