What Editing is Supposed to Be

I had a rather unusual pleasure today.  I edited a piece for a friend.

Now this chick can write. Funny?  Oh very yes!  Clear?  Yep.  Has a specific voice.  My goodness yes.

So, when I saw it and asked if I could edit it, it wasn’t because what she did sucked.  It was because it was good and just needed a few rough edges sanded down and polished.

Something that is a real myth about the writing world is that an editor will just ruin your piece.  I even believed it for awhile.  Blame it on some of Heinlein’s snarky comments if you want.  But the truth is that no editor wants to ruin your piece, kill your voice or anything like that.  That’s not the editor’s job.

It’s the editor’s job to make you look brilliant. Well, insofar as possible.  Can’t make bricks without straw.  But what an editor wants is for anything that passes her desk to be readable, instructive, entertaining or whatever might be the goal of the publication.

Her comment was, “Oh wow. Ok that’s amazing. I totally see. You sort of turned it into the piece I wanted it to be in the first place with the editing.”

That means I managed to do my job in working on it!

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