Don’t Write Alone | Interviews

“It’s astonishing how similar everyone’s editorial problems are”: A Conversation with Allison K Williams

In this conversation with the author of ‘Seven Drafts,’ Andrea A. Firth chats with Allison K Williams about praise, feedback, editing concepts, and more.

Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book

Seven Drafts

Brevity Blog

Andrea A. Firth: You go by the moniker The Unkind Editor. Harsh?

AF: —why seven separate drafts?

AF: What inspired you to write this book?

AF: You have a BA in drama and an MFA in playwriting. You’ve worked as a stage actor, director, playwright, circus/street performer, fire eater, and aerialist. Quite a résumé. How has your background contributed to your work as an editor?

Why am I in this scene?

AF: You include a total of 132 footnotes in the book! Here’s one of my favorites: “Some critics talk about male vs female plot structures. A slow build to a single climax protagonist is ‘male.’ Interlocking story structures with multiple protagonists and multiple climaxes are ‘female’—get it?”

Why so many footnotes?

AF: How do you recommend a writer approach and use your book?

What is the most challenging part of writing my book? What feedback do I keep getting that I don’t know how to fix?

AF: What if I suck? The thought crosses every writer’s mind.

AF: The word serves as an acronym in draft #2: Story. What does mean then?


The Glass Castle

AF: You talk about the importance of mystery in both fiction and nonfiction. How is it essential?

AF: How can the writer be faithful to her own truth while treating others in the book fairly?

AF: Draft #3: Character. Why do readers attach to a character, and how does the writer achieve this?

AF: After each draft, you advise the writer to let the manuscript rest for a week. Why?

AF: How do you get useful, actionable feedback when you share your book with a friend or beta-reader?

AF: When do you recommend that a writer pay for a professional editor?


AF: You’ve written the book about writing a book. What’s next?

AF: Any other advice for the writer?