C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

About Editing

Recently I sent someone a piece of poetry. They liked it, then rewrote it (WTF?!) and then decided they’d edited it down too much and robbed it of its power. Ultimately they pretty much said “Eeeeh, stet it.”

A while back a friend of mine was an editor in educational publishing. She showed me some of her work and I was appalled. Yes, much of educational publishing is homogenized into a single tone but it was as if she made it her mission to water it down, make it worse and rewrite everything. In truth, I thought she was a terrible editor (too quick to cut) but she was a worse re-writer. Perhaps she was an editor who was a frustrated writer (the most dangerous kind.)

With my magazine work I’m very happy with my editors. They always preserve my voice and whatever they do seems reasonable (although I don’t care what The Chicago Manual of Style says, capitalizing Internet still looks dumb to me.) Mostly, I have a hard time finding their changes, so of course I think they’re brilliant editors.

When do you decide someone has crossed the line from critical (and helpful) to hypercritical and destructive? I’d be curious to hear your experiences.

Filed under: publishing, ,

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