Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Be Kind to Editors, They Mean Well

As a writer over these years, I have had the privilege of training a number of editors. And though such a task is laborious, thankless, and certainly daunting, somebody has to do it. Let me share some things I have learned.

Editors have this bad tendency to project their feelings onto others. For example, they want me to remove 48,000 words from my writing. Why? They don’t want to read them, and they ASSUME that nobody else wants to either. Of course this is nonsense; after all, why else would I have written them in the first place? So when dealing with editors, one must overlook this, well this oddity.

Next, for some reason editors believe that events happen sequentially, one after the other, and that good writing should also follow this ideal. Of course this is not true. Have you ever listened to your wife or daughter recount an event? Sequential? Seriously?

But the most troubling aspect of editors is that they are unimaginative people who are highly offended by any display of creativity. They are putout when I supply three variant spellings for a single word, all in the same paragraph. They ask snotty questions whether I have ever heard of spellcheck. They also don’t like it when I use a comma instead of a semicolon. And they can’t stand my sentences that run on and on and on and then continue with sentences added upon sentences and then how I like to add even more sentences on top of those. Nor fragments. They don't like. Them. Either. And though their harsh comments would appear cruel to the thin-skinned, you must understand that their words were only generated from hearts envious at such a display of creativity. Mind you, I’m not bitter over this or anything. By the way, what’s a spellcheck?

Oh. Did I say I trained a number of editors? Let me restate. Over the years I have worked with a number of editors. Because the only way you can ever train an editor is simply within the recesses of your own imagination; one can never really train such souls. But I have learned one thing in working with them.

You must be kind for they mean well.

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