Invisible Art (textbook)

co-edited with Sarah Layden | currently out to market

Editing is the invisible art. When it’s done well, the reader doesn’t notice the work. A great editor is like a ninja: stealthy, efficient, and looks good in black. But as a result of all this stealth, editing is unusually hard to learn. If you can’t see it, how can you learn to do it?

Here’s one answer. Invisible Art: A Field Guide to Literary Editing is a textbook that pulls back the curtain on the editing practice, making the invisible visible. Invisible Art developed from the need we found in our own college classrooms for an editing textbook. We wanted to demystify the submission process for our students, and to show them different ways editors can respond to submitters. We wanted students to see what happens to a piece after it’s accepted, so we invited editors to share manuscripts with their editing marks and suggestions. We wanted to teach practical techniques and strategies for global editing and line editing, so we created exercises and “CPR Dummy” stories to practice on. These ideas came together in a textbook that draws upon the experience of accomplished editors in the field, as well as our own experience with editing and pedagogy.

Last year, the textbook was used in over twenty college classrooms. If you’d like to be a beta-tester, drop me a line at furuness (at), and I’ll provide you a free electronic copy of the textbook for use in your class.