Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Writing vs. Editing: A War of Words

I see but one rule: to be clear.

As both a writer and an editor, I found this piece, "Against Editors," to be a fun read.

I think that being a writer first, an editor second, is a good combination. The written word is a writer's baby. To watch a red/blue pencil do damage to carefully constructed writing can cause actual physical pain. When I'm editing, I keep that fact in mind. It helps me to avoid making edits:
  1.  For the sake of change
  2.  To make it read like I would write it
  3.  That would change the author's "voice"
I try very hard to confine my edits to:
  1. Spelling
  2. Grammar
  3. Punctuation
  4. Clarification
While the first three concerns are by-the-book, the fourth is a gray area. If I don't understand exactly what the writer is expressing, I'll flag that line and ask my question. No writer wants a confused reader, and the editor is the first audience for any written piece. It's an editor's job to call out any ambiguity. It's the writer's prerogative to accept or reject the validity of such challenges.

Writers tend to appreciate all the above considerations. Remaining a writer first and an editor second, for me, is the best approach.