Writing Skills: The Case For Working With An Editor.
Writing isn't as simple as it looks on TV or in the Movies. The glamorous writer is depicted draped in wine, women and adventure churning out his or her product with ease. While this is all true for me, most other individuals need help. Some people are shocked to learn that writing involves a team. Educated, talented individuals working together to bring you, the consumer, a polished product that is ready to leap off the page and insert itself into the enjoyment centers of your brain.
In my past, I trained and worked as a visual artist so I was just as shocked as anyone to have discovered the fact that writing is a team effort. As an “artist” I could do whatever unspeakable things I wanted to on paper or canvas and I didn't need anyone to tell me what it was, how others would view it and “I should probably take another crack at it because what you just produced is utter donkey dung”. People have opinions to be sure, but if they are negative, they will for the most part wisely walk away without expressing them. Which is a good thing because most artist's reactions, like wild chimpanzees, are not to be trusted with negative opinions or food. If provoked, they very well might rip your face off.
The writing “team” goes something like this: The writer, the copy/content editor, the agent (optional), graphic artist, the publisher, and the distributor/seller. Some of these people or entities will wear multiple “hats” during this process and fill more than one of these positions. Even so, the structure remains basically the same.
Everything starts with the writer of course, he or she is the creative driving force that produces the initial work. Without them, everybody else would be selling fast food or cleaning toilets. It's safe to say that without the writer they (editors especially) would lead a purposeless existence. However, since creative types continue to exist they have a reason to live and have not disappeared into extinction because of natural selection.
That's not to say that writers are some kind of flawless golden eggs that should be admired, worshiped and paid without question. I myself, found out that it pays to have someone edit your work before it is “published.” Most beginners rely on a computer's spell check to find the flaws in their work. This only works on individual words and not the content. The genius on the pages need to be polished and the thoughts focused. This job takes a human participant and if you have the right editor, they can do just that. They can make the necessary technical changes without destroying the nuances and the feel of the individual style that can define an author.
Here is an example of proper editing taken from a recent story I wrote. First, read the “rough draft” before my editor was able to work with it.
“I haba serioz... WTF! :( Ass ASS ASS!! Manz with to store, buy, itz gonna rainz today. Blech hate things... I willa willa hurt C Ya locaally grown.”
Although the passion and brilliance is there, admittedly it needs some polish to make that little gem shine. Can you pick out the subtle changes my editor made to improve it?
“I looked into the darkening clouds the day of my beloved's death. Like a tear from the sky, a single raindrop fell from the heavens to the earth as if creation itself mourned along with me and I knew that for me, the colors of the world would be forever duller as long as I stood upon it.”
It's a bit better and the flow is improved. Perhaps it's a little too “vanilla” but to make something the market would be interested in buying, sacrifices have to be made, so that you too can be rich and have eventful adventures that only successful writers have. I hope this demonstration helps you in your literary endeavors.
If you would like to hire the same insightful, intelligent editor I use, you can check out her blog at: