Margo’s ‘editorial letter’ reminds me of how I felt when I saw Hamilton: she not only lives up to the hype; she’s even better. Her ability to establish a deep intimacy with the material and simultaneously stand apart from the page in order to probe with intensity and specificity is unlike anything I’ve experienced. She is, quite simply, the most remarkable editor with whom I’ve ever worked.
No less important, Margo offers a steady stream of encouragement that inspires hope—while at the same showing there is work to be done. Her ability to convey both those messages with such grace is truly a gift.
—Jill Smolowe, author of Four Funerals and a Wedding and An Empty Lap
Margo is quite simply a superb editor—a rare talent, with a deeply soulful, attuned and complex intelligence. Her gift as an editor seems analogous to that of a natural-born psychotherapist; she is able to see the work and know it and understand it in a deep, intuitive way, and at the same time is able to see what needs to be done for the work to become realized. She is further able to find the voice and register to convey her insights to the author in a way that enables them to take command of their work (…of themselves…) and bring it to its best self—to find a path forward to the manifestation of the book they intuitively reached for when the inspiration was born.•I’ve never before encountered the kind of editorial-response materials Margo provides. Her “editorial letter” is typically a comprehensive analysis of the manuscript, outlining themes, issues around character, relationships, psychological nuance, atmosphere, language and plot, highlighting areas of strength and those that need work. She also writes a detailed outline of the manuscript, highlighting themes and plot points, as well as gaps or discrepancies. And she provides extremely detailed notes in the margins throughout the manuscript, pointing out issues at all levels, from the broader matters of structure to the finest points regarding language and word choice. She has an uncanny ability to put her finger exactly on the salient issue—and will often venture suggestions as to a possible solution.•I’ve not before encountered an editor whose strengths are so acute across the full range of issues; she has remarkable prowess regarding structure, and also character, psychology and plot; and a poet’s fine attunement to matters of mood, imagery, and linguistic nuance. I have been consistently astounded by Margo’s thoroughgoing, unfailing literary acumen and finesse.•Margo is also a fine person, whose decency, integrity and passion for literature shine forth in her work; the way she inspires and invigorates one’s faith in one’s own work is a priceless gift to a writer. Working with Margo has been an experience of profound literary companionship and collaboration and all in all an absolute pleasure.
–Shira Nayman, author of River, Awake in the Dark, The Listener, and A Mind of Winter
Margo is a genius editor and the hardest-working person I’ve ever known. She has X-ray vision that she employs to see the bones of a manuscript: having diagrammed how a book is constructed and the legs on which it rests, she not only diagnoses the fissures and misalignments, she proposes how to fix them. With her profound respect for writers, she manages to present her suggestions in a way that is both entirely supportive of the intentions of a piece of work and utterly frank. Add to this that she is a poet and brings that exquisite sensibility to every level of analysis—pacing of front and back stories, plot unfolding, character depiction, physical descriptions, sentence construction, and word choices—and you’ll begin to get a taste of the quality of the help Margo provides. I could not recommend Margo more highly.
–Lisa Gornick, author of The Peacock Feast, Louisa Meets Bear, Tinderbox, and A Private Sorcery
An introduction to your new editor – the man or woman who will be in charge of shaping your book into something like a coherent narrative – is fraught with apprehension. Will she understand what I’m trying to say? Will she edit the story in her image or mine?
I learned in short order that, in having been assigned Margo LaPierre, I was in very competent hands.
Margo had an uncanny ability to grasp the larger thrust of any particular scene, passage, or chapter, then gently suggest changes that, despite their subtleness, had a profound impact on the way my book read.
The process was ongoing, thorough and intense. She and I spent several months trading the text of my book back and forth – she with suggestions and my responding to them — and I was continually struck by the intelligence and depth of her insights. Her suggestions were not only thoughtful and pitch perfect, but at times left me more than a little chagrined that I hadn’t thought of them myself. (Note to Margo: I’ll get it right next time.)
The upshot was a book that I, and I would like to think she, are both proud of. It was a good book when I brought it to her. It is a better book now.
–Dave Carty, author of Leaves on Frozen Ground