Never Edit Blind(ly)

Explain yourself when editing, and ask questions when being edited. It’s a process. You chose words for a reason, even if it was because they just looked sophisticated and you didn’t really know what they meant. Things happen.

Nobody knows what "ergo" means!
Nobody knows what “ergo” means!

The editor – also known as “knife wielding idiot” – requests you change some words. Maybe “is” appears too often. Editor types know this because they can drop your manuscript into an app and it’ll tell them that. Too many “is”‘s! Get rid of some! And “the” isn’t looking good, either. Keep an eye on it.

"Had?" It should be "has had"! Past perfect, you illiterate chimpanzee! Now you cut at least 50% of those "had"s out, do you hear me?
“Had?” It should be “has had”! Past perfect, you illiterate chimpanzee! Now you cut at least 50% of those “had”s out, do you hear me?

So you run off to blindly fix whatever editoridiot asks; and in the process you improve your story, right?

Maybe.

 

Let’s say you want this sentence fixed.

 

“Let’s go see grandma!”

 

The kids are excited about a trip to a house filled with love and cookies and toys. They pile into the car, full of enthusiasm.

 

Grandma! Grandma! Grandma!
Grandma!
Grandma!
Grandma!

You know what you mean, and the editoridiot knows what she means by “fix it”. But what if your ideas of how to fix it are… different?

 

So you guess about what she wants. They’re too excited. Lose the exclamation point. And you fix it. Now it says:

 

“Let’s go see grandma.”

 

No, no editorasshole says, that’s not fixed! FIX IT!

 

So you type “Let’s go see, grandma.”

 

Well, now it says something different, doesn’t it? The kids were excited to go see grandma, hence the exclamation point; now they’re actually talking to her and considering the prospect of something she is reluctant to witness. It’s fairly ominous. Taunting. Actually, the grandkids are gone and a rude teenager has replaced them, torturing the sweet old woman into giving up her jewelry box to save her elderly husband.

 

If editoridiot had taken the time to explain, you wouldn’t have made grandpa freaking murdered and thrown down a well.

 

Grandpa?
Grandpa?

See?

 

BTW, imagine how many things you change AROUND the words they request changed, so the story still makes sense. That’s a lot of time and energy wasted without knowing what they want. Don’t assume you know. Heck, don’t assume THEY know.

 

I spent three days fixing it... and I made it worse?
I spent three days fixing it… and I made it worse?

Communication. That’s the key to any healthy relationship. When you know each other well, you know what the other person means. Until then, don’t guess.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

5 thoughts on “Never Edit Blind(ly)

  1. Great post. I have been a victim of one of those ‘idioteditors’. I was quite pleased with my editor from a previous book I’d written, when an author friend put me on to someone else, exclaiming how tough and wonderful she is at nitpicking. I thought I’d take on the challenge – Big Mistake. I was miserable, I hated my book, she stripped my voice and then I found out (through the track change initials) that my work was passed on to someone else to edit, who wasn’t an editor! Comments were like your post, very vague directives.
    I called her out on it, rewrote my MS and with my tail between my legs, ran back to my editor. Besides the grief and angst, it cost me twice for an editor.

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