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.
Ultimately, each kind of editing can mean different things to different editors. But even when you have the lines between the various types of editing more clearly defined, certain styles of editing can bleed over between types and others cannot. It all depends on timing and the needs of the manuscript or publishing house.
Lately, I’ve been seeing an influx of advertisements for online grammar checkers on almost all of my social media accounts. For a while now, I’ve tried to ignore them, chalking up the barrage of ads to the internet gods knowing how to market to a book lover, but I’ve begun to wonder what these online checkers mean for today’s writers and editors.
I sat next to a woman on a cross-country flight who read Fifty Shades of Grey from cover to cover with such rapt attention that she didn’t respond to the flight attendant. When we landed, the woman looked confused and not too happy to step back into real life. She collected her things with the glazed, glassy eyes of the fictive spell.
As an editor, a manuscript is given to you and you are told to make it better. How? That is, after you realize that the manuscript is someone else’s blood, sweat, and tears, and probably their biggest dream, how do I help them? Well, I recently asked someone and they said “pay attention to the author’s voice.” And while that sounds wise and appropriately vague, it got me thinking.