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Folks I Admire: Amanda Valentine

Amanda Valentine has been my editor since I started working on the Dresden Files RPG. I have met a number of fantastic editors in my life as a writer, editor & production manager, but my don’t often get to watch an editor work both on what I’ve written (thus dealing with me as a writer), work with me to coordinate editing (thus working with me as a co-editor), and work with me on scheduling (thus dealing with me as her project manager). The last three years being in Amanda’s orbit has left me, honestly, having very high standards for any future editor I work with.

That includes me. Jennifer Brozek got me starting in this life of being an editor, and it’s Amanda who has helped forge who I am today.

I wrote this for Amanda’s blog bio:

Athena. Freya. Hera. The goddesses of old inspire devotion and grant power. Today they’re myth, but we have a new goddess to revere: Amanda Valentine, goddess of editing.

Many writers, including everyone at Evil Hat Productions, would march with her to the ends of the earth if it meant she’d work over our manuscript. Her eye for prose, for flow, for content, for context, and for rules understanding are top notch.

I’ve seen her work on the Dresden Files RPG, Smallville RPG, and other projects here and there, and she’s amazing; she truly grants power to these works. And I have high expectations for the upcoming Marvel RPG, expectations I know she’ll meet and exceed.

Oh, and Amanda, don’t you dare edit this for content. I want you to feel ridiculous when you post this on your site. :D

And while I had fun writing that, I meant every word.

Amanda taught me how to better interact with writers that I didn’t already have a strong rapport with. She’s made me & Leonard Balsera get out of our own heads when writing rules in Dresden, with some techniques that I’ve since used on other projects as an editor. Things like Socratic questioning, asking for explanations in different ways, various ways she’s learned on how to get a writer to break internal patterns that can lock us up in how we explain rules.

She’ll be editing Mythender, when it’s done[1]. She’s working with Evil Hat on Fate products, and with Margaret Weis on Marvel. I’m pretty jazzed that she got to edit the Fiasco Companion, even if I’m a bit jealous of that specific job. (One of the rare times that I am envious of a fellow editor.) All in all, she’s a “take no prisoners” editor, while still maintaining a personable nature with her writers. That isn’t easy, and some editors don’t even bother[2], but she pulls it off well, making a partnership where there could be friction.

Amanda is starting to post more to her blog. Like me, she has thoughts on editing and how it’s viewed in the community. If that sort of thing interests you, I recommend following her.

– Ryan

[1] If it’s ever done. I keep pondering letting it go and just accepting it to move onto other projects, but that’s a different post.

[2] Not that that’s a bad thing, especially if you’re a submissions editor. Dear god, especially then.

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7 Responses to Folks I Admire: Amanda Valentine

  1. Cam Banks says:

    All 100% true.

  2. Leonard Balsera says:

    Hell to the yeah.

  3. Awww, you guys are so sweet! :) It certainly helps a lot working with good writers who want to participate in the editing process, rather than “I hope you don’t change a thing” or “I don’t care what you do to it because I did my part.”

  4. Chad Underkoffler says:

    AV is too much metal for just one hand!

    \mm/

  5. BAD CAM.. no cookie.

    But, I’m going to have to agree here wholeheartedly.

    What I liked most about working with Amanda was that while some editors take a very stand-offish stance on working with their writers, Amanda takes an active part and makes each part shine, not just the whole.

    I really feel that coming out of Smallville I was a better writer than going in and I attribute most of that directly to Amanda. To me, that is the sign of not just a good editor, but a great one and it makes me look forward to working with her again.