Remember that a manuscript is the result of a writer’s blood, sweat, and tears. Unless they’re lucky to be full-time writers, authors are usually people working a nine-to-five job and have to write during their lunch breaks or stay up late into the night writing after their children have gone to bed. They’ve sacrificed their energy, time, and social life to write a book, and if a query is not handled well, they could see it as an attack on them and not as constructive feedback.
Numerous instructors of writing share the same advice when it comes to editing: resist the urge to edit while you write! Just get your ideas out, flesh them out, and worry about the fine points of editing later. But despite the numerous voices in your head and from those around you pleading for you to resist the temptation, is this really the best advice in any and every situation?
The most important thing to remember about an editor, is that they are people too (no, they are not perfect); they do have feelings. Having to deal with the stigma surrounding their profession, as well as their actual work, can be pretty overwhelming. Shouldn’t authors want to be helpful, especially for someone they will be working so closely with? Newsflash: you CAN make your editors life easier! Here is some advice that will allow you (as a writer) to ease the weight on your editor’s shoulders.
If that’s the case, why does nonfiction allow something as unreliable as memories? The idea is that the writer is truly recounting the memory, not whether or not it actually occurred. The experience is born out of the memory of the event. A memoir is a recounting of memory. It has to be a truthful recounting of only what’s remembered and what is researched.
The role of an editor is to ensure throughout each stage of the editing process that the writer communicates their view of the world to the reader in the best way possible. With such a responsibility, editors should look at the ways in which the language and manuscripts they edit affect the world around them. Editors should look at how the representation of life and people on the page shape and change society’s understanding of real people in the real world. To gain further distance on the path towards impartial inclusion, here are some tips for inclusive and mindful editing in regards to the LGBTQ community.
Although editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders are expected to flag problematic portrayals and instances of biased language, they, like the author, can’t know what they don’t know. Publishers hire sensitivity readers who share lived experience with certain characters or situations to ensure the portrayal is accurate and presented in an unbiased way.