Although editors are a notoriously introverted bunch, we all stand to benefit from a little social connection. What happens when you run into a truly perplexing problem—be it a difficult client or a questionable comma—and you need to turn to other editors for advice? Where can editors go to receive mentoring and swap war stories? This post outlines some of the ways in which editors can connect with each other—virtually as well as in person—in order to grow as professionals and build a sense of community.
William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” A good editor knows that this process is sometimes painful to the author because their words are their babies. How, then, is an editor to approach nonfiction trauma manuscripts when an author’s words are their nightmares?
If you’re a writer or an English major who aced every spelling and grammar quiz in school, you might think to yourself, “Hey, I’m pretty good with words. I understand punctuation, possessives, and present participles. I would make a fantastic copyeditor!” And you could very well be right. But before you dive headfirst into this profession, it’s important to know that for a good copyeditor, grammatical know-how is just the tip of the iceberg; successful copyediting requires a number of additional skills that have nothing to do with whipping out that red pen to correct a dangling modifier. This post outlines some essential copyediting skills that are completely unrelated to grammar and spelling.
I’m here to confess to my comma-splicing crimes and help everyone else who’s guilty of comma splicing learn the error of their ways before it’s too late. Just kidding—it’s never too late to learn something new or relearn something old.
Finding an editor can prove difficult and expensive, but if you go about it with tact and strategy, editing your short story yourself might yield good results. Though editing can be exhausting, there are a few strategies I find helpful when I write creatively.
Everyone has different ways of understanding the world around them, and in order to draw that out for a keen audience, it is necessary for an editor to make all those red lines and to work with the writer to help them dig out their own unique voice.