SD/PEN Member Profile: Bryna Kranzler

SD/PEN regularly selects members at random and profiles their background and experience in an interview-style blog post. These are valuable opportunities for members to introduce themselves to other members and prospective clients through this newsletter and on SD/PEN’s website and social media outlets. This profile features Bryna Kranzler, a developmental and copy editor, writer, and consultant.

How do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?

I provide developmental and copyediting services to independent authors. Developmental editing refers to reviewing the content and structure of the book (whether fiction or nonfiction). With nonfiction, I make sure that the author has established their expertise in the subject, delivered on the “promise” inherent in the title, and used language appropriate for the audience. For fiction, this means making sure that the characters are well developed and there are no loose ends, among other issues. Following a developmental edit, I usually provide copyediting services: correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage.

I also contribute blog articles for a local company and coach (primarily) students from Asia on how to tell their personal stories in their MBA application essays.

What accomplishment are you most proud of professionally?

In 2011, I published a historical biography (memoir) based on my grandfather’s diaries, which he began keeping during the Russo-Japanese War. His stories—during a time of poverty, starvation, and the horrors of war—were filled with his unique sense of irony and compassion. As he shared stories with his friends, they urged him to publish the stories, so at the beginning of the Great Depression he continued what he had started in 1904.

He didn’t finish for 20 years. The day he finished he asked my mother to help translate them into English from his native Yiddish, but he passed away that very night. Years later my father, a Hollywood writer, published isolated stories from the first 13 of the 28 notebooks, but he too passed away before he could complete the job. I was very careful crossing the street until I finished the book.

Which quality or qualities would you most like your clients or professional colleagues to remember you for?

Kindness and compassion. I believe that the meaning of life is to leave everyone you interact with a little better off for having known you. When I edit books for aspiring authors, I always work to have their books reflect what they feel in their hearts and be the highest quality possible. I have had excellent relationships with the authors with whom I have worked and enjoyed getting to know them and their stories.

Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.

My favorite recent book is Red Notice by Bill Browder. It is the true story of what happened when an investor became very successful in Russia at the time that industries were being privatized. Browder’s canny investments made him very wealthy, which brought him to the attention of the Russian government. Various operatives endeavored to steal his companies (by using stamps that were stolen from his lawyer’s office) and maneuvered the tax filings of his companies so that Browder could be imprisoned for tax fraud. His lawyer was Sergei Magnitsky, whose name may be familiar because of the Magnitsky Act (passed after his torture-murder). The Act bars Russians implicated in the efforts against Browder from entering the US. Russia retaliated by preventing Americans from adopting Russian orphans (the rationale the Trump organization gave for meeting with Russians in Trump Tower). The book is written like a thriller—always exciting and absolutely horrifying for being true (and timely).

Where would you like to go on your next vacation and why?

I’m planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia—for no particular reason other than the idea popped into my head and I went with it (which is also what led me to visit Morocco a little over a year ago). I’m planning to stop in Tokyo for a few days on the way there and had planned a layover in Shanghai on the way back, though I am in the midst of changing those plans due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I recall, at one point, having wanted to be an archaeologist—I’m not really sure why. (This was way before Indiana Jones.)

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