The Second Pen is a literary consultancy currently based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland and run by Elodie Olson-Coons, an internationally published bilingual writer, editor and translator.
The name ‘the second pen’ comes from an old French expression for ghostwriters, ‘la deuxième plume’: as someone particularly interested in the collaborative aspects of writing, I am deeply interested in the ways in which the interlocking facets of my work – as a creative quill, a red pen or a proofreader’s pencil – inform and inspire each other.
My editorial work gains perspective and flexibility from my grounding in translation. A ghostwriting project based on an existing manuscript is not so very different from a developmental edit. My own experience as a writer, published and edited, feeds into my understanding of the workings of structure and style, beyond what lies in a style guide or in the hallowed pages of the New Oxford Style Manual.
In all these interconnected projects, I believe in close relationships with my collaborators, which by their very essence involve reciprocal trust and respect for each other as creators. Clients and authors I've worked with have called me ‘thorough’, ‘supportive’, ‘sensitive’, ‘spirited’, and – wonderfully – ‘fastidious’. I’m not afraid of bringing a spark of humour to the editorial process, or of rolling up my sleeves.
I grew up in north-eastern France with my American parents, studied and worked in Britain between 2006 and 2012, and have lived in Switzerland for the last eight years. I have a literary baccalaureate, mention très bien, a first-class degree in English Literature from Magdalene College, Cambridge, and an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh. I have been a full-time freelancer since 2014.
specialisms, interests, misc.
fiction • myth • culture • novels • mountains • memoir • historical fiction • travel • biography • language • transformation • life writing • English • flash fiction • research • hiking • autobiography • food • music • literary fiction • retellings • sparkling wine • prose poetry • criticism • poems • belonging • poetry • museums • French • literary fiction • love