O Editor Editor! Wherefor art thou?

We are, it seems, a popular topic of blog conversation.

Never a week goes by, without someone writing about us.

For example:

  • Waste of money, I can do it myself
  • My best friend/husband/mother has a creative writing qualification/English degree
  • I can’t live without my editor – a marriage made in heaven
  • Editing is more than proofreading, they need to question your plot, your characters, your will to live – or at least your will to write
  • You need to choose your editor carefully – here are the criteria…
  • And of course, the old chestnut, you need three separate editors, developmental, copy and line, plus a final proofreader.

    One post I read recently said that there were far too many unqualified people selling their services as editors and they were in danger of bringing the industry into disrepute.

    Another person, who didn’t seem to have any relevant qualifications, just a natural feel for editing, cautioned against using an editor who had worked mainly in non-fiction rather than fiction. Hell, at least some of us have worked in it for 30+ years…

    Yet another, said, always use someone who has worked for a traditional publishing house.

    And if BS baffles brains, one blog post quoted intricate statistics about whether typos or poor plot put people off a book more.

    If there are too many typos, I rarely notice the plot in my eager chase to find the next glaring error. And if spelling, punctuation, and capitalisation are wrong, there’s a good chance the plot won’t be the best either. But at least one can play chase the error. Or pick up another book.

    But I think it is a bit rich for someone with a ‘feel’ for plots and books, who sets up as a developmental editor, to lay down the law.

    What law?

    The sad truth is, there is no law. And fiction, while operating to general rules, leaves an author the choice to decide how they want to write, whether to buck convention and accepted style, or lie down and do as they are told.

    Our second truth is, that the responsibility lies with the author. The author needs to decide what level of service they want, how much they want to pay, and do their homework by reading and asking around.

    An author is also responsible for checking the terms of the contract, if it isn’t in the contract, don’t expect extra work without incurring additional cost. An author is always responsible for signing off the final version of their book. Hiring an editor doesn’t absolve an author from responsibility. It is more likely to mean an author will get a barrage of emails saying ‘What on earth do you mean by this?’

    Editors charge differently. Some charge an hourly rate, some charge by the word or the page, others (me) give a price for the job.

    It’s not true that you need to pay a fortune. You can spend a lot of money and end up with errors of various types. As do famous authors using trad publishing houses. You can spend a minimum and end up with a well-edited book. Unless authors are selling a lot of books, their returns are low, and it simply isn’t cost-effective to have two or three editors and a proofreader.

    Which is why authors need to decide whether they want:

  • Someone to check spelling, punctuation, grammar
  • Someone to question word usage, overuse of some words or phrases, or even overuse of distinctive punctuation, exclamation marks, colons, em and en someone dashes, ellipses
  • Someone to check facts and foreign language usage
  • Someone to check consistency
  • Someone to find holes in the characters and the story, and basically rip the book apart
  • And, is the author prepared for an editor to argue (nicely of course) with them?

    Authors should ask for a sample of what the editor will do for you. If you want the full ‘rip the book to shreds, character assassination, this plot’s crap’ job, that’s slightly different, but otherwise any decent editor should provide you with a few chapters worth of suggested edits.

    Don’t pay for an appraisal telling you what needs doing. Just. Don’t.

    Why on earth, would anyone pay me to read their book, for me to write back and say, ‘It needs editing’. OK it might stretch to another couple of sentences, but still, it’s a waste of money.

    References and word of mouth may be good, but an editor who suits one person may not suit another. Plus, authors have different requirements, hence, the need to know what you want from an editor.

    What matters most is seeing an example of their work, because you are going to be paying at least 50% up front, if not 100%, and, deciding whether or not you think you can establish a working relationship with someone, because this is NOT your mate or your sister or your husband. This is someone working at it for a living (unless they are doing it for pin money because it’s ‘fun’) and they will be honest with you, which may well mean saying things you really don’t want to read. Oh and price. That matters too.

    Now, onto three more of our favourite common errors

    Remember the first three were:

    1. Missing full point
    2. Faulty punctuation in dialogue
    3. Spelling

    So the next three are

    4. Capitalisation

    This one is quite the nightmare. There are two categories of erroneous caps.

    One is the creeping cap,

    where it just appears within the text for No reason.

    In the same vein, is the one that sneaks in during dialogue.

    ‘For example,’ He said.

    Both of those examples are incorrect, there is no argument about it.

    The second category is much more contentious. A debate over at Ark’s blog exemplifies it.

    It’s all about when, or whether, you capitalise a noun that isn’t a proper noun because it is used as a substitute for a title.

    Easy examples are, the Council, instead of Kirklees Council; the Government, instead of HM Government of Gibraltar; the Doctor, instead of Doctor Williams; etc etc

    Usage varies within institutions. Civil servants and the legal profession tend to capitalise anything and everything. Text ends up looking like German with all nouns capitalised.

    In journalism it was regarded as ‘the pompous capital’, ie basically elevating something to unmerited importance. It was also regarded as an excuse for sloppy writing. If it wasn’t clear what was meant, just slap a capital on the word.

    Fiction however is different, and in particular, fantasy fiction. Look at the amount of capitals Tolkien throws around. In fantasy, authors often describe mythical beings with a capital, pretty much like saying someone is French or Australian (not suggesting either are mythical beings).

    So despite my dislike of unnecessary caps, I think there is a case for judicious use of them. But overuse just diminishes the impact of the words that are capitalised. And, remember, too many caps also slows down the eye when reading text.

    5. Factual errors

    This can be anything. It can be an error in translating a foreign language, an inaccurate quotation from a published work, an error with date and timing, eg when Star Trek started, when pounds, shilling and pence were used rather than decimalisation, or even just a wrong street name.

    6. Consistency

    This is a pretty broad category. But it basically means the story needs to flow, so any jarring inconsistencies stop that flow and leave the reader puzzling.

    For example, in one (best selling) author’s book I’ve just read, he uses timescales to section his book, eg

    Gibraltar, 12.58

    Except he then followed it with

    Gibraltar 9am

    It had me tearing my hair out. A tiny slip that totally stopped my reading.

    In another book, British crime writer, Lynda La Plante had a detective slashed in one thigh, and a few pages later it was the other leg. That sort of error has me going backwards and forwards thinking I’ve misread something.

    Another classic is character names. Even one use of the wrong name stands out like dogs… a sore thumb. When you’re editing with a lot of names, keeping tabs on them all is a tall order.

    And, characters doing one thing one minute, and either repeating it later, or doing something totally different:

    She picked up a glass of white wine…

    Followed a few pars later by

    She was enjoying the sharp flavour of the gin and tonic…

    Sure, logic suggests she could have polished off the white wine and got another drink in the meantime, but it doesn’t signify that to the brain when we are reading.

    Our brain says, ‘wait, she was drinking white wine, why is it now gin and tonic?’

    With which, I will pour myself a lunchtime beer. Cheers!

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    111 comments on “O Editor Editor! Wherefor art thou?

      • I’d be delighted. If it’s religion or philosophy please cite sources. Anything else, history, architecture I can manage. Although sources would still be recommended. I am just not wasting my life reading up on fairy tales Corinthians and fantasy Romans.

        At this rate, you lot will have me reading the bible next!

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        • The bible does need some editing for plot. We can’t have Noah having a pair of each kind and shortly 7 of each.
          The book will be on philosophy of religion if I ever write one.

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          • I suppose it’s vaguely similar to philosophy of history which was part of my degree so I could live with it. But to be serious, something like that would need a lot of sources, and you would want to consider how to do them, end of each chapter, footnotes, or right at the end. A lot of work, friend.

            My university architect friend wrote a book about bridges. Much simpler!

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      • What’s difficult is trying to work out what an author wants. Similarly, what’s difficult from an author’s perspective is working out what an editor will do. Somewhere, occasionally, they meet in the middle.

        Bit better, thanks so much for asking.

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    1. Interesting notes.

      What drives me up the wall is not this or that mistake people frequently make, so much as the new norms and generally accepted usages that have emerged from some people writing in an illogical manner and others imitating them.

      Let me take an example from what you’ve written here (no animosity intended): “In another book, British crime writer, Lynda La Plante had a detective…” The problem is the second comma. It’s the old question of defining and non-defining. “The man who was standing in the corner was Ruth’s father.” Without the comma the relative clause is defining: we don’t know who “the man” was until it’s added on. “The man, who was standing in the corner, was Ruth’s father.” In this case “the man” has been previously identified, and the relative clause is there to tell his location, not to say which man we’re talking about – and there have to be two commas. Same principle here: the “British crime writer” hasn’t been previously identified, so the comma is superfluous.

      By the way, WordPress doesn’t allow me to relocate by cutting and pasting: wherever I put the cursor it pastes the phrase back in the same place. Good job they don’t charge you for using their platform.

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      • Totally valid comment re the comma. I actually added the description after I’d written the main post. The comma should have come after her name ie British crime writer Lynda La Plante, and I’d not done the usual sixty checks before your eagle eyes spotted it. I think your example is clear where the commas should be. Other phrases are more unclear. You could mess around with commas quite a few ways in my sentence but not with yours.

        I added the Brit bit because I thought non-Brits might not know her, so it was an afterthought. Food for thought.

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    2. Aack! I am guilty of overuse of capitalizing. I will try to restrain myself in future. You raise an interesting question whether typos or poor plot are more annoying to the reader. That’s a tough one. I would have said the plot’s the thing for me, until I read a recently reissued Angela Thirkell novel which was such a sloppy mess that, in spite of the wonderful story, I was on edge waiting for the next mistake. Later when I read the reviews on Amazon, others were complaining of the same thing. I solved the problem by locating ancient Penguin versions of her novels and will carry on from here!

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    3. Who the chuffing hell is Adolph Hitler in any case?

      The capital thing only had me sidetracked for a while where it related to titles: captain, major etc.
      I came across one or two different opinions on this and after trying out each eventually settled for the
      method used by one of my favorite authors reckoning that f it was good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me.

      You didn’t bring up Americanisms or feminisismism … isms again!

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        • Ark, we are blogging. Not charging people to buy books. Big difference. Ya want me to change them? For you, anything. Well, in typo terms. I’ll even change your American spelling of favourite if you ask me nicely :)

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      • Adolf? No idea. Who he?

        Titles is the biggie. I don’t agree with it. I’m happy to point it out but go with the author’s choice. There is just no reason to say the Captain said, the Major said etc. But if that’s what the author wants :(

        I really must look out for free Pratchett ebooks :D never really noticed his style.

        Sorry. Can I do a racism post next? It’s a good one, promise.

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        • I have now opted for caps during dialogue or where it precedes a name: Captain Ark.
          Otherwise, lower case. The captain said, ‘Oi, bugger off.’

          Racism? Oh the gods.
          Well, why not. You go girl! ( sexist?)
          Can we all say, ”Yo, ma nigger”? and still be PC?
          You realise Col will be all over your post like a damn rash, don’t you?

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          • Can’t say I am happy with your dialogue discussion. Wimp.

            ‘Hello, Wimp,’ she said.

            Very. American too probably.

            Can’t comment on the nigger thing. Not my field.

            No idea. He’s welcome :D

            Shit, just realised I forgot to link to your caps post. Will do.

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            • OK, I am not happy you chose caps for titles in dialogue but not elsewhere. Where is the logic or consistency? Not that it is my business :)

              You did a post in July about use of caps. I have now linked back to it.

              You are reading too much shitting reality…

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    4. Interesting reading . . . I wonder if being an editor gets in the way of enjoying the story. Is an editor always an editor?

      I agree that egregious errors detract from the experience regardless of the overall content, but most people read not with the intent of parsing sentences.

      I suppose it’s a bit like an engineer (me) watching a SF movie (or any movie) and seeing something that violates accepted physics. I’m less likely to object to FTL travel than I am to object to a car morphing into a machine that is three or four times the original mass.

      Still, the question remains . . . are you always an editor first and reader second, or can you turn it off?

      As for me, since I have a high opinion of myself as a non-writer dabbling in the craft, the main purpose to hire an editor would be to catch errors in spelling and grammar. Secondary would be story structure, but I think Beta and Alpha readers would be more appropriate for that. If most readers are willing to gloss over some things, perhaps they are not worth worrying about.

      . . . I could be wrong, seeing as I’m neither an author nor an editor.

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      • Nah, I’ve always been irritated by errors. And was good at spelling tests, so everything, well… Niggled.

        I don’t read to find errors. I read for pleasure. But I get a furrowed brow, my feet contract, when the story has glitches. I can’t concentrate.

        So the answer is, no, not an editor first, but… there is always one but, I can’t help seeing the errors when I read something someone’s else has written.

        Seriously, do you want to read something full of errors? Of course not.

        I think the obvious ones are worth investing in. I think beta and alpha drag things out for little added value, but depends if you want ten people to comment on x, y and z.

        Many readers don’t seem to notice typos or plot inconsistencies. Many people are stupid. I am sure there is no correlation.

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        • I’ve noticed more errors from news organizations (both written and spoken) and that’s probably because of the competition to get stuff out.

          Also, many people who write for organizations now have their own blogs, and I notice more errors like the ones made in regular blogs and comments. They are probably not going through an editor other than for topic approval.

          And yes, it does detract. Then again, as a reader, I can usually blow through them without losing sight of the overall offering.

          And no, I don’t want something ‘full of errors’, but few things worth reading are ‘full of errors’.

          On a side note, in response to one of the other comments you mention the idea to add a comma where one would pause in speech.

          I’ve used that as a general guideline, but I often find that approach gets me mixed results.

          . . . perhaps because I stutter . . .

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          • I’m saddened that genuine news sites have errors. Whether blogs or whatever. It still sets a bad example. Journalists should be setting standards. I don’t see my blog as a professional one per se, because I receive no payment. But I still try to keep it pretty clean.

            The comma one is interesting, eg pause and insert comma, yes? I think it depends what effect you are aiming for, but, as a general rule, I don’t think it’s bad. You can use too many, or too few. Ultimately your style is your own. :) your writing seems fine to me, seriously.

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    5. I’ve recently forayed into the world of reading a book on my ipad. While it’s quite useful to not lug huge tomes around on holiday, the annoyance felt by the appalling mistakes one finds glaring from the nicely back-lit page is enough to completely ruin an otherwise bloomin’ good read. I’m like you – mistakes just leap off the page and once spotted I’m just sniffing around for more. Very distracting.

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      • I only started reading on the iPad recently. While I didn’t like it to start with, I can zoom through volumes now. Sometimes volumes of rubbish though…

        I don’t understand people who say they don’t notice mistakes. It’s obviously each to their own, but it is like an irritating itch to me. My partner reads more slowly than me, but he pegs the same inconsistencies (eg the wrong leg slashed in the La Plante book) as I do.

        How can you not notice glaring punctuation errors? I don’t mean debatable ones. I mean really, really obvious ones, She Wrote.

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    6. Well, for me the words either work or not and am not too worried about commas or full stops. A perfectly written work can be as boring as hell. The ‘singing’ of the words and their order first, the rest can come after.

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      • I don’t like paying for a book to be half-baked, we’re not talking blogging here, we’re talking about people setting themselves up as writers, or more pretentiously, authors. So, quite frankly, they should get it right.

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    7. When I Write My Masterpiece, I Shall Capitalize Every Word. I Shall Use Adverbs Frequently. As For Commas, I Shall Sprinkle Them Here, There And Every, Where, Injudiciously. I Shall Use Ellipsis…..And Most Importantly, I Shall Convert All Nouns to Verbs And Leave Out Full Stops Every Once In A While

      I Shall Invent New Words By Prefixing Them With “De”, Instead Of Using Perfectly Good Words That Mean “A Lessening Of” Or “Diminishing” Or “Diminution”. Such As “John Stood There And Wondered When Exactly He First Realized That His Love For Jane Was Degrowing”.

      NIce Post! Tells me that what I will need, apart from the spelling and the grammar check (even I am fallible !). Someone to give me a Plot and show me how to build Character. (What a difference a missing “s” can make…………..!! )

      Hey, I still owe you that recipe for eddoes… soon!

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      • Haha! I’m actually not obsessive about it all, but I think at least meeting the basics is not unreasonable.

        Nouns as verbs is a good one. You should have chucked in a few double negatives for good measure too.

        I’d forgotten about the recipe! No rush there :)

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        • I’m actually not obsessive about it all,

          Right. No s**t! I think you are in denial!
          You cannot write oodles about this stuff then blow it off with a not obsessive at all comment.
          I have a sneaking suspicion it is like fingernails down a blackboard for you.
          Am I write or am I right? Rite!
          ;)

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          • I am providing a free service to writers who may or may not wish to polish up their Adophs and their favors. In fact I am doing a favour. Plus I find it interesting, that doesn’t mean I am obsessive.

            Believe it or not, when I am editing fiction (not so much non-fiction) I am extremely flexible regarding individual style. And do stop laughing.

            I will however, admit to being a total control freak. Pink tells me I am schizoid, but only because he self-identifies as schizoid and wants to tar someone else with the same brush. I will possibly admit to extremism, ie all or nothing. If I can’t have what I want, I’ll do without.

            But back to editing, I’m flexible about the use of ” or ‘ for speech. (Difference between US and British style). I don’t care. I think that’s an artificial rule. No idea when Britain went singular but at some point it did. Similarly, I don’t care about first par set left, centred chapter headings etc. Style guides do though. Now that is obsessive. Plus changing all that costs more money on an edit.

            It’s not so much like fingernails down the blackboard, which I’ll admit to not liking, but rather exasperation. These people seriously expect to charge money for this cobbled together piece of ….? And the ones who are stupid enough to leave errors in their first few preview pages are really really silly. Sorry, didn’t mean you there, I’m talking self-publishing now not independent or vanity press.

            The point is, I would have got 0/10 at my school if I had written some of the appalling garbage I read. And if a ten-year-old could manage better, I see no reason to question why adults can’t. Of course, I suppose it depends upon the Sun readin age.

            As you can tell, I’m in the midst of cooking lasagna.

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            • One of the reasons I moved out of reporting was because I couldn’t work out what happened to old reporters. There weren’t any. Well maybe there were some on the nationals, Clive Everton and Janice whatsit covering snooker. But did I want to end up like them?

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            • 0/10 is right. I see way too many blogs and short stories where the sentence construction just makes me cringe. I don’t think they even teach the parts of speech and clause analysis anymore.

              ” I could of gotten it rite, but, nah, who cares about them grammar nazi trolls” and so they go on writing unreadable garbage.

              And it may be, that you are, quite possibly, a tad obsessive. Not sure what gives it away. Can’t quite put my finger on it; it’s just a hunch. :)

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            • They probably don’t teach Latin any more, but apart from being a good basis for learning a number of European languages, it was also very good in terms of learning grammar.

              I think ‘grammar nazi’ is an unfortunate term. In fact, using nazi for anything is unfortunate. However, in this specific case, it is unfortunate because it implies that it is excessive to use correct spelling, punctuation, choice of words, etc. and as you say, this attitude results in the inevitable. And, unreadable garbage not only continues to be spewed out, it becomes acceptable. A sad state of affairs.

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            • The proper use of grammar can never be excessive. I agree, the term “nazi” is a very poor choice of words. As you pointed it, it implies that correcting grammar, punctuation and spelling is somehow excessive and a very bad thing.

              I had ranted about this attitude that says we must not write proper English if we are to reach the “common man” (or woman).

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            • I have said before that a poor education and dyslexia, for example are a separate issue. And you can always tell those two, because of the spelling. They aren’t just typos or faulty punctuation, the whole text is technically inaccurate. But, it is comprehensible. Conversely, I admire people with the courage to put anything in writing, knowing they are not going to get it right.

              That is not the same as people who have had a good education and are either too lazy to correct it or think it doesn’t matter. These are the people who think they can write, want to sell books, but don’t want to produce a professional product.

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    8. ‘the pompous capital’ I love that phrase. It fits perfectly (and I’d forgotten it)
      Consistency has to be maintained. Readers can deal with a great deal – suspended belief does have its’ limits.
      One of the reasons I enjoy reading your post is that you will talk about stuff with logic and progression (like the 4. Capitalization section). Then wryly, simply, throw in the obvious – something people just overlook. (Example from there: You want nothing to slow the reader’s eye down. Plan is to keep them reading) Priceless. People get so involved they forget the whole purpose of writing.
      I find editing research easier as it has distinct requirements and forms. Memorize those and it’s all about attention to detail and making sure word choice says exactly was it require in the study. (or as vaguely as necessary…sometimes research “conclusions” must be vague due to the nature of researching humans as we really don’t know as much how humans learn/behave/think as people want to believe…).
      FIction? You don’t want to change the author’s style or meaning, but sometimes work is needed. Actually easier before email when people planned to sit down face to face and talk through passages. Usually a meeting of minds and mouths solved problem areas. Easier if you know the author a bit – or at least read previous works of some sort.
      Great advice. It is all up to the author.

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      • I loved the pompous capital. I should start a Campaign in its Favour.

        Thank you. But people get carried away because they have been on fifty creative writing courses and forget the obvious. Don’t they teach about the reading experience? It involves starting at the beginning, and working one’s way through to the end. The easier this is, the better experience it is. And while sentence and plot construction are valid issues to consider, don’t forget the basics.

        In journalism, we learn how to put the max in the smallest amount of space (because, space is at a premium, and preferably paid for by advertising) and, we want our readers to be able to read quickly and easily.

        Yes, fiction and technical reporting are different, but the same principles apply. What use is a report on nuclear power stations if you have fallen asleep after the first page?

        Well, but email does cut down on time. I’m happy working via email. But, I do like to read more than one piece of work when I’m working for an author. Really helps. And there are some fine people out there who trust you to help and respond to every not-picking query. I’m not interested in telling people how to write (pretentious moi?) but I enjoy making a good book look better.

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        • Tight well thought out writing is always in style – no matter the function. That was a skill once taught in schools. Quite valuable. There are so many ordinary situations where concise to the point writing is needed – from instructions for workers, letters to officials, requests for assistance or complaints about something. Practical stuff. Say what it and say it briefly. Not easy. Flowing creative writing is great, but if you look at what is used every day by most people once they are adults, it’s short nonfiction/informational pieces and letters.
          Sounds like you work with authors already down the writing road. It takes great restraint and skill to fine tune fiction (and someone who’s read widely and enjoys a good tale). Creative writing courses for adults are a blessing and a curse. But at least most get it through their heads that being a famous author doesn’t happen over night. And making a living at writing novels is rare. Always a shock to some.
          Yes. Pompous capital. Sounds like a country club we could honor.

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          • When I was in the civil service, writing press releases for the government, Thatcher who was PM at the time, had actually sent a memo around instructing people to write like journalists instead of issuing long ponderous letters and documents. I tended to advise people to write as though you were speaking. Most people don’t speak in a long-winded fashion, so why write pretentious twaddle?
            To be fair, I think some fiction writers can write well naturally without the need for lots of courses or a variety of editors tweaking and primping their work. The mantra doing the rounds at the moment is ‘show not tell’ and ‘no adverbs’. No doubt there will be something else coming along to take their place in the fashion parade.

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            • “Commercial Writers’ courses” are very big business here. Many featuring well known writers and sometimes agents/publisher reps) While I always enjoy talking/listening to authors and those in the industry, it doesn’t take long to realize many of these events are mostly about money for the promoters. I know a couple of talented writers who enrolled/attended, only to be so overwhelmed and discouraged, they gave up. There is something to be said about just writing.
              Thatcher’s memo – got to love that. In character with her, yes?
              Please don’t tell my husband to write like he talks – he’s one of those that rambles on and on trying to formulate what he is really trying to say. Sometimes drives me nuts. He writes much differently: brief and concise….maybe we should just communicate by post-it notes.
              Yeah, just like home decorating, writing mandates fade in and out – remember those old Brit writings on composition…and back even farther in writing history…and of course those creating writing courses will need some “new” trends in writing” to teach…(snort) AH, sun and a little breeze. Maybe a good weekend to try the beach? (I still want to do the Gib post card thing – will pull those out and send you what I have shortly…back to Gib history post, knew it was strategic location, but never crossed my mind about the civilians there – that’s a real untold story around here anyway)

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    9. Who rocked your boat, Roughseas? Bloody hell, no half-ways for you… when you tell ’em, you Tell Them! :D Shouldn’t you be editing something? :P

      And where’s the bloody rebloggymewatsit!

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    10. I think this piece of yours will have had all or most of those who ever do any editing giving an excellent imitation of one of Enid Blyton’s best-loved characters, but without the bell in the hat.
      As a fantasy writer, I freely admit that I am also guilty of a Capital offence.
      Would you believe it – only yesterday I pointed out to an author that it needed to be decided upon whether chapter headings had a comma or not between the place named and the year? (It was kindly delegated to me!) :)

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      • I don’t have any Enids left. Think I gave them all to my old schol. Er, school.

        The point is, people (not the ones who I edit for to date, thankfully) are ignoring very basic rules. For no good reason, merely ignorance or sloppiness.

        Capital offences are acceptable in certain circumstances, which was why I specifically mentioned fantasy, a prime example. But it shouldn’t be over-used. Use it where you want emphasis, not where it is pompous.

        Author responsibility? Again, currently I’m lucky. Unless there is a clear style guide from a publishing house or a requirement from an author, then debatable areas are down to the author to decide. In the case of the book I read, I can’t remember whether there was a comma or not. Must go back and check. Will report back later…

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    11. I’m pleased I am not an editor, of any kind… and am simply a blogger and a reader. As I read for enjoyment, editing would distract me – not having that sort of professional discipline, qualifications or skill. It’s all very well to pick up typos or holes in grammar/plot/story but to do it effectively takes a whole different mindset. I’m admiring of people who do it well. And I think payment of any sort is involved then it should be done well, and also the editor’s reputation as well as the writer’s is compromised if the process is short-changed.
      And yes, it annoys me if I have to back track through a novel to pick up a thread or detail that’s unnecessarily murky…

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      • I’ve always noticed errors, and sadly self-publishing has led to more of them. But as with the examples I gave, it’s not just self-publishers with one or two books, best-selling authors using big houses have them too, which I find doubly annoying.
        Partner doesn’t have the same skill set as me at all, but he notices errors, especially plot ones, too. And because he reads more slowly than me and remembers the story better, he doesn’t need to back track :D

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    12. You certainly have your job cut out for you Kate. Strange that there’s always people out there who think they can do it better than the professionals like you and other editors. It’s not something that everyone can do.

      How’s Snowy and Pippa doing and you? Give them lots of hugs and kisses from me and ask them to give you some as well. :D ♥ Hugs ♥

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      • It’s a job I like doing, so there’s one plus :) It’s not well paid, although some people seem to charge big bucks and still don’t get it right. I think it’s like a lot of jobs, people think it’s something they can pick up, and that it’s easy money. Just like everyone thinks they can pick up a paintbrush and become a painter. It’s ironic that Partner and I both work in trades that are full of chancers. ‘Oh I like reading/painting, that seems easy enough, I’ll just set up in it…’

        My boys are good thanks :) Pippa thanks you for the kisses but doesn’t want to give me any 😀 Snowy prefers to bite me on the nose! 🐾

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it’s all about loving what you’re doing even if the big bucks isn’t there. It sure is and hubby will also agree with you on this one where IT is concerned and I also find it’s the same with photography. The only way you can make money with photography is when you get yourself out there and advertise for weddings, parties, baby photo’s, etc. and that is something I won’t ever do as I don’t have patience with people. I think that is why I still love taking photo’s and even though I am not making any money from them, I still enjoy it, but it’s like you say … you can’t just pick up a paintbrush and become a painter and I know some folks here that think if they buy an expensive camera, they will automatically start taking awesome photo’s. Most people don’t realise it takes hard work to do what you do and lots of experience and it doesn’t come easy.

          In our little town people are quick to remember hubby when they want ‘free’ computer repairs or setups done and then you get those ‘chancers’ that think because they know how to switch it on, they can repair it as well. So yeah, we know those kind as well.

          hahahahaha! Oh, don’t mind him then. Let him keep all the kisses and hugs. Here’s some for you to keep you from sulking. ♥ Hugs and Kisses ♥

          LOL! Snowy got my message. hehehehe

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    13. I love the people who say they can edit their own work or let their English teacher do it. That’s not editing. I work with two editors. If I could afford it I would work with three, but that’s not in the cards at the moment. Now I’m off to have some wine and a gin and tonic. It is Friday ;)

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      • Jeez! That’s big money. I thought you had an editor and a proofer. I think the difficulty is, editors come with different skills. I do re-editing of published novels as part of my portfolio, where people have already paid for an edit, or their best mate from the pub has done it for a couple of beers. I think it is such a shame that people have paid good money, thinking they would get a good job, only to end up with errors of differing types in their books.

        I have edited my own – usually corporate – work and still do. But, I also send drafts around to people, eg other directors, to get their opinion. Different field to fiction, but the same principle, basically does the plot hang together and does it make sense? Should I add/delete anything? I’m currently writing public papers for an incorporated company so it needs to be right.

        TFI Friday. Enjoy and relax. Have a good weekend.

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    14. Mwahahargh! The caps debate sounds familiar. :-) good post though. To be honest the thing I look for is demonstrable expertise. Not when its shoved in your face but just when it’s just really obvious in conversation. So I’d say that talking to your potential editor, or corresponding with them a while, will soon show you whether they’re the right dude to edit your book. And yeh, it did.

      Cheers

      MTM

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      • I do generalise believe it or not… So the caps isn’t about anyone. Actually, it’s probably more about civil servants!

        Part of my point though, is that authors need to know what they want, I’m not sure everyone does. Plus BSBB. Well BS just baffles everything really. But, there is a lot of drivel talked about writing and editing, which just doesn’t apply. Your books are great. No two ways about it.

        And I need to eat, stop editing at midnight, sneaking off to look at blog comments, and go to bed. I’ll be in touch tomorrow btw. I am still in love with The Pan. Or General Moteurs? Or Lord Vernon? Or Swamp Thing? :D

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        • ;-) It’s OK I know it wasn’t aimed anywhere it just made me chuckle because it was a conversation we’d been having just recently. I’m glad you’re still enjoying editing them. I have to get my finger out of my bottom and write another one… another couple of days and the huge list of chores will have gone down enough for me to start something, hopefully.

          Cheers

          MTM

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          • I don’t use books I work on as examples. I do use poor books I have read as unnamed examples. I would however, have really liked to use the LV calling the guards back when they hadn’t left the room, so I really had to think around to get that out of my head (working on it meant it was current) and I suddenly remembered a flawed drink consistency one, (not one I edited), so that worked just as well.

            I have conversations with everyone about capitals! Everyone. But what I want authors to do is make a conscious choice. There are a lot of grey areas in editing, which is why editors need to ask questions.

            Another book? Oh yes. I’m liking LV in the parallel universe though. Delectable villain. After all K’Barth is parallel so why not many more? Infinite LVs in fact. Actually, I really want Moteurs to defect and become power hungry. He doesn’t like The Pan’s half-hearted role as Architrave, Ruth is doing more to run K’Barth, he is bored with Deidre, and he remembers the power wielded by LV. Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea…

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            • Gah yeh, that was a bit of a biggie, I’ve no doubt there are plenty more too. I don’t think I could make General Moteurs bad, I really like him as he is but I did enjoy Lord Vernon and I do like the idea of Lord Vernons from other versions of reality trying to achieve the New Moral Order across every version of reality and our version of The Pan and Ruth having to try and stop him. Although to be honest when I say write another one, I mean one of the two that are bouncing around in my head now… which are distinctly unK’Barthan, so it would mean in two books’ time.

              Nobody’s ever called Lord Vernon delectable before. ;-) Thank you.

              Cheers

              MTM

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            • I could make Moteurs bad :D strip that squeaky cleanness right away…

              Vernon was sooooo interesting, just a spot-on character. I think if Ruth and The Pan are fighting across parallel universes against LV they would struggle. And, maybe lose.

              Two books time? Boooo :(

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            • Mwah hahahrgh! Making General Moteurs bad… there are so many ways I could read that! Phnark. He’s kind of ying to Lord Vernon’s yang anyway. I confess I have a bit of a soft spot for Lord Vernon. I’d quite like to meet him, but only with a lot of protection.

              Cheers

              MTM

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            • I thought it would be a nice twisty? General Moteurs and the car crash…

              LV is rather BDSM, I think you would need your handcuff keys at the very least. But he manages to be sexy too. Well not to The Pan, obviously. But LV is smart. That’s what makes him good.

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            • Mwahahahrgh (again). I thought he was quite sexy. When it comes to LV I wanted him to just ooze charisma, invincibility and power. Which probably would make him sexy in a dark and rather scary way. It seemed very real to me but I wasn’t sure if I’d got it across. ;-)

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    15. One hundred, eight comments–I am not sure I have that many on my entire blog! Once again the topic is of great interest to so very many and once again, to me, it reduces to whether an individual can create quality professional work. I am still of the mind that, with very few exceptions, the answer is “no.” While decent amateur writing can be done by an individual, the product that people should be expected to pay for is best done by a team consisting of a writer and various types of editors. I believe that most in the industry would agree but clearly there are still many who do not. As is always the case, I enjoyed this (and also enjoyed quite a few, but not all, of the comments) as it tends to shed light on what I should be working on.

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      • Of course you do! I think the first post I wrote about editing passed 300… Two reasons, firstly, people are genuinely interested (as you say) and have something to contribute and discuss, secondly, there is a fair amount of banter, not just with me, but with people who frequent each other’s blogs.

        I think it depends what you are writing. When talking technical/corporate, then yes, it does need a team, mainly for differing areas of expert knowledge. I’ll add a classic error to a later post as a good example of how loads of senior experts missed the obvious. But I would say you need a good strong editor to pull it all together, and an eagle-eyed proofreader as your fail-safe.

        Like

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