Tips For Editing Genres That Include Violence, Suicide and Mental Illness

Date: January 19, 2023

Time: 4-5 p.m. Eastern Time


Mental illness figures strongly with some plots, either because a serial killer is portrayed as mentally ill or because a character is written as suicidal. Further, the motives and behavior of violent characters are misunderstood. As such, violent characters and/or suicidal character are written inaccurately, often at the expense of mentally ill people. Further, such characters are often rendered cartoonishly, and suicidal characters are written in unintentionally disrespectful and triggering ways—and at their expense and the expense of their loved ones.

We often have an instinctive sense that our clients have gotten it wrong, and after attending this webcast, editors will be able to better articulate to their clients how to get it right.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Editors will learn about profiles of famous serial killers and instances of conventional violence as models for accurate characters
  2. Editors will evaluate the appropriateness of graphic violence in their genres
  3. Editors will understand suicidal ideation with an eye to looking for narrative pitfalls

Cost: Free for ACES members/$30 for non-members

Click here to register for this webcast.If you get an error message saying you are not eligible to take this form, you may have already registered. If you have already registered, scroll to the bottom of this page and click the title of the course to the left of the paper clip icon.


About the presenter:

Karin Cather is a former prosecutor and child welfare attorney who left the practice of law in 2013 in order to care for a disabled family member. Karin earned a certificate from UC Berkeley Extension online in the professional sequence in editing (a one-year program), read widely, and lurked heavily on Facebook editing pages before opening her virtual doors in early 2015. Karin also attended the Editing Goes Global conference sponsored by Editors Canada in 2015. Karin was the project manager for a book entitled From Contact to Contract: How Editors Get Clients to Work With Them (published by Editors Canada) and coauthored a book with Dick Margulis entitled The Paper It’s Written On: Defining your relationship with an editing client

Karin specializes in developmental, structural, line, and copyediting, as well as manuscript evaluations, of detective fiction, dystopian fiction (also known as Tuesday), fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, and memoirs written by first responders and attorney, as well as forensic court reports. Karin also ghostwrites novels in those genres.

Karin has been the decision-maker in the life of a mentally ill family member for over a decade. She has edited approximately 1,500 forensic psychological reports. Karin has also prosecuted not guilty by reason of insanity cases and wrote an appellate brief in a serial killer case prosecuted by my office. She also has a black belt in a form of Krav Maga taught in a training center with 40 percent active military and law enforcement, such that the training is often tailored for these individuals. She is trained to respond to violence as it is, not as it is depicted. 

Karin’s police procedural/science fiction crossover, A Million Monkeys,is currently on the virtual desk of a developmental editor, and the sequel, Sick Puppies, will be ready for editing in February.

Course Details

Tips For Editing Genres That Include Violence, Suicide and Mental Illness01:00:00
Tips For Editing Genres That Include Violence, Suicide and Mental Illness 01:00:00
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