GLVWG author, Mitzi Flye, took the time to interview Patti Giordani, one of our presenters at the The Write Stuff Writers Conference™ on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Patti has been a long member of GLVWG, as well as a Copy Editor for the annual GLVWG Write Stuff Anthology.
MF: For some reason, the GLVWG Conference Committee thought I should interview Pattie Giordani. Maybe it’s because I’ve known her all of her life (and dumped her out of her baby carriage). Thank you for allowing me to interview you (she’s touching me!). I will be nicer to you than I was when you were 8 and I was 12.
MF: You have quite a varied background in editing, including being an editor of a nonprofit organization’s magazine and assistant features editor at The Express-Times daily newspaper. But you’re also a writer. Which do you find most rewarding?
PG:Thank you for doing this interview with me! (No one made me say that. LOL) As for editing vs. writing—I find both rewarding. As you know, I’m a Libra so I tend to look at both sides of a question. As an editor, I enjoy helping other writers shape and improve their work. And the most rewarding part is when an author says I made the work better. But I do think my scale is tipped toward writing, because I’m nosy! I’m interested in people, what they do, what they love, their backgrounds, their aspirations—you get the idea. I’m also interested in businesses, places, things, history, and many other topics. Researching and writing articles helps me delve into subjects I might never otherwise have the chance to learn about.
MF: You’ll be presenting workshops on writing features and writing the personal essay. Which is your favorite to write?
PG: That’s difficult to answer! Again, I like to learn about different topics and interview interesting people. But I also have a lot to say—don’t we all? Writing personal essays connects me with strongly about, it can resonate with readers in a profound way.
MF: How does your background in editing help your writing, or does it hold you back?
PG: I think being an editor has enabled me to get to the heart of an article faster, to see what pertinent slant should be and how to proceed with research and interviewing. I am also pretty good at putting all those pieces together to appeal to the readers of the publication. Being an editor does hinder the writing process—as we all know, it’s tough to turn off that inner editor! Although I’m not writing much fiction these days, it’s more difficult for me to suppress my editor instincts when I’m writing fiction.
MF: I know you’re a long-time GLVWG member (I will also take credit for doing that to you). How have you seen the group and the conference change over all these years?
PG: Yes, and thank you for that! I distinctly remember coming to my first meeting and attending GLVWG’s first conference—such a great experience. Of course, the group, as all groups do, has evolved and grown over the years. Early on, there were monthly meetings and the conference, and for some years, a holiday luncheon in December. Over the years, members joined, some left—and new members started new and interesting programs. Now there are a myriad of offerings for members and nonmembers: the Writers Café, P.M. workshops after the monthly meetings, a conference blog, preconference workshops, and other programs, such as Get Writing, Get Published, Battle of the Books and other free presentations.
MF: When did you start your writing career? (I know the answer to that one, so don’t fib!)
PG: So I guess you remember the one-page Lyon Ave. newspaper I wrote, edited, printed (in marker, LOL) and distributed back in the day! I also wrote for my high school newspaper but then I didn’t write much for many years. I went back to college in the 1990s and wrote for the Moravian College newspaper and for the Easton Irregular, a monthly newspaper covering the arts. My biggest and most lucrative assignment during that time was a short piece in Baltimore magazine. In 1999, I started my full-time writing and editing career when I became assistant features editor at The Express-Times.
MF: I know (from personal experience) that you’re also a freelance copy editor. Could you mention why a copy editor is so important in this day of self-publishing?
PG: We’ve all heard the stories about self-published books that could have benefited from an editor. And many of us have read some of those books. When those stories get around among readers, it can hurt the writer’s career. Anyone planning to self-publish a book should not skip this important step. A good editor is essential in making any writer’s work better.
PG: And the perennial GLVWG question: Why do you write?
Because I have something to say! Again, it’s also because I’m nosy. And if I’m interested in something, it’s likely that other people are too. But I want to be the person who writes the story.
Feature This – Writing Articles, will discuss how to develop ideas, find markets and pitch your ideas, article types and formats, how to conduct research and interview experts and others and how to put it all together in an interesting way. A feature article can be a short list, such as 10 Things to Do Before You Buy a House, or it can be a long piece on the latest type of architecture complete with research and multiple interviews with experts and those living and working in such structures.
Let’s Get Personal – Writing Essays. Do you have something to say you feel will resonate with other people? But how will you write it, and who will publish it? Learn the basics of writing personal essays, including what differentiates an essay from an article. We will discuss markets, how to refine your ideas, your written voice, format and length, topics, markets, and how to ensure your essay is reader-friendly.
Pattie Giordani is a freelance writer and editor, a contributing writer for Lehigh Valley Style and Bethlehem Press and a copy editor on two GLVWG anthologies. Her former day jobs include associate editor at a national nonprofit association and assistant features editor at The Express-Times newspaper. She speaks at writers meetings and conferences on various topics and taught nonfiction article writing and grammar courses at Northampton Community College. She and editor/published author Tina Gallagher own Libra Editorial Services, offering services for writers who want their work to be polished and professional.