Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Just what does an editor do, really?


Some years ago, I clipped a cartoon from a copy of “Writer’s Digest” magazine and pinned it to my office bulletin board. It showed a couple of chubby guys rolling on the ground laughing at the base of a pedestal on which a giant toad was setting. The toad had his huge tongue out slurping across a ream of paper being held up by a laughing third chubby guy.

The caption on the cartoon read: “One more thing editors do with your manuscript.”

I kept that cartoon around as a dual reminder of my odd career: I am both a writer and an editor; one who creates the slurped manuscript and one who holds it up for the slurping.

As an editor, I’ve always felt my most important task was to clarify what the writer is trying to do and to help him do it the best way he and I know how. I hesitate to rewrite or heavily copy edit a writer’s stuff, because it is not MY writing. It is the writer’s stuff and the writer is entitled to take all the credit and all the blame for his unique content and expression.

But, really, what do you other editors do? How do you approach your jobs? Any of you out there care to share your experiences and comments with us all? Please share with us.
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