Interview with Andrew J. Sacks
Andrew J. Sacks is an editor, English professor, and freelance writer in the greater Los Angeles area. He is also a nationally ranked chess master.
What got you into English grammar and editing, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I became an English major during my second year in college after discovering that I genuinely loved writing papers for my Advanced Composition class and received very positive feedback from my professor on those papers. I had long enjoyed both writing and careful editing to express myself as precisely as possible.
Which writer/artist influenced you the most?
I was certainly influenced at a young age to develop an admiration and love of genuine literary works by reading the sonnets and some plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of William Wordsworth, and the short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
What makes a story or article great?
To my mind, what makes a story or article great is its illumination of simple aspects of life, often overlooked in day-to-day living, as well as its ability to shed light and provide insights on aspects of human experience we commonly take for granted. A sensitive reading of works of fiction, poetry, or even non-fiction can be a valuable learning experience.
How do you balance your schedules and professional goals with everyday life?
I balance my college teaching load (courses taught in English Composition and Literature) with time set aside for my own writing and editing as well as editorial work for my clients. Excellent organizational skills are crucial for all writers and editors to develop.
What is your main philosophy as an editor?
My philosophy as an editor is to place the writer and his or her own work and vision first and serve as a facilitator for that writer’s unique style and intended meaning.
Please tell us about your latest work and the research involved.
My own published writing includes short fiction, articles, and poems published rather widely in online literary journals. As a chess Master, most of my early articles were on the game of chess and some of its major figures, but then I branched out to write and publish on a variety of other subjects over the past five years.
Can you give us an outline of your modus operandi?
My own writing method involves much thoughtful editing, often over two weeks for one article, followed by conscientious proofreading. For clients, there is, characteristically, much discussion and give and take in order for me to satisfy both myself and my client that the writer’s own vision is being faithfully communicated.
What was the most difficult text/book you compiled, and why?
The most difficult text I have compiled is in progress, a volume of my own fiction and non-fiction. I have been working on it for over a year, carefully organizing and even re-editing published pieces, always with the philosophy and spirit that the most effective editing is seldom over: another close reading can often suggest minor points of precision and improvement.