Evil Overlady

Silence Equals Complicity

It’s Not Your Editor’s Job, Idiot!

by Your Evil Auntie

Don’t give your poor editor a stroke.

My ex fancied himself a writer.

And yes, he’d write.

Oh, he’d write.

Well, I think it was writing.

Words and all that. Passing from the desiccated thing between his ears to the keyboard in front of him.

One big-ass wall of motherfucking text. No formatting to be found and with horrific spelling errors that would gouge out, never mind blind, the unwary eye.

Then, when he thought he’d written enough for the day (maybe two or three regular pages–a few thousands words or so), he’d send it on to me in the grossly mistaken belief that I would edit it for him into some sort of even vaguely coherent pile of vowels and consonants.

Nope. Wasn’t gonna happen.

I’d send it back and (nicely, for me, anyway) suggest he try doing a bit of formatting on his own. Being his editor hadn’t been in our wedding vows.

I was fairly certain of that fact.

Of course, he was always mightily offended at my response, as I clearly could not see his literary brilliance displayed before me. The Next Great American Novel that would earn him (yes, him, it was always about him) oodles and bundles and scads of ALL THE MONIES!

For which he had already made plans about how “we” would spend it.

And now it was all my fault that it would never be polished and sent on to an eager agent, then publisher, who would print it, distribute it, and he’d have all that money for his fantasy real estate empire. I may have laughed at that last bit.

More than a little.

Yes, I’m such a bitch.

Folks, these days I’m seeing a lot of posts and articles from professional editors who are getting what amount to walls of text from writers who seem to think that it’s the editor’s job to get all of those letters arranged into an attractive and coherent form, suitable for printing and public consumption.

Well, let me tell you something.

It’s not.

No, not really.

99% of the time, that’s not what they’ve contracted to do for you.

What’s my point then?

Take the time to actually format your work the best you can (and not trying to bullshit your way into claiming you already have) before sending it on.

And when your editor either sends it back, untouched, or gives you a massively different new figure for their services, don’t get all butthurt and angry about it. It really is your fault and you need to own it.

2 thoughts on “It’s Not Your Editor’s Job, Idiot!

  1. Writing is communication, and if you can’t put your thoughts into coherent form yourself, YOU aren’t communicating. No editor is going to save you. IF an editor tries to put your incoherent rambling into something that communicates, more than likely the reader will get the editor’s thoughts, with you paying someone to give you credit for having them. You have hired a ghostwriter, and they don’t come cheap.

  2. I once heard “house painter” defined as someone owning a ladder, bucket, and brush. Unfortunately, everyone can handle a pencil, and most people these days have computers. Being able to put words on the screen or on paper does not make one a writer. One can have a great story to tell but lack the skill to write it. To be a writer, one absolutely needs certain skills in addition to creativity. Mastery of grammar is one of the necessary skills. The idea that anyone who can slap some words on a page and be a writer is as silly as thinking that if I buy a scalpel, I can be a brain surgeon. (And I edit professionally.)

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