Four on the Floor with Sophie Playle


Four on the Floor with Sophie Playle

A specialist fiction editor who provides editorial services directly to writers, Sophie Playle also trains other editors through her online courses and is the author of the short story collection The Hours of Creeping Night—which I recommend highly!

I’ve enjoyed following Sophie on Twitter and am also a fan of her newsletter, Liminal Letters (particularly of her approach of writing the letters as if they were letters to a friend). More information about Sophie and about her services can be found at her website, Liminal Pages.

Now enjoy the interview!

Do you find that being a writer as well as an editor makes you better at each craft? How so?

Yes, definitely. Though, for me, being a writer has helped me be a better editor more than being an editor has helped me be a better writer. I believe I’m a more sensitive editor because I know how difficult it is to transfer your vision to the page. But my brain can get stuck in editor mode, which can make it difficult to be creative and free in my own writing.

Are there any recurring themes you’ve consciously or unconsciously developed in your fiction?

Hmm, interesting question. I’m not sure. I think I often explore the nature of fear—what can cause it, how it can manifest, what it makes us do. On the surface, I enjoy writing stories about strange beings—monsters, zombies, mythical animals, living trees and all that jazz. So much fun to be had there.

What is your favorite part of editing?

I provide two main services: manuscript critiquing (where I provide feedback on the story as a whole) and line/copyediting (where I help improve the artistry of the sentences and fix mechanical issues). I love it when an author hires me for both services and I get to see the improvements they make between drafts. It’s really satisfying to polish a solid story and see the author’s vision take shape.

Is there an editing strength that you’re particularly proud of?

My years of literary analysis, studying writing craft theory and being a creative writer myself have made me an excellent line editor, if I do say so myself. I feel I’ve got a pretty good grasp of how much I should intervene and how much I should hold off to preserve the author’s voice and style, but I know exactly the effect a comma placement or word choice will have on a sentence.

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