Essays

Writers and Editors

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Writers and editors occasionally dislike each other. Why? Because an editor is a person who can revise everything a writer has slaved over for weeks.

Here in Carpenter Country, the short one always thought being an editor would be more fun than being a writer. Last week when the guy who shares her space decided he needed a letter revised she got her chance to put on the editor’s hat.

Grabbing her blue pencil, she began to cut and slash. Soon the original words were gone, replaced by a much smoother and easier to read style. After a quick proofread and spell check the page was printed.

When the amended edition was presented to the writer, the short one expected a word of praise–or at least a kind remark about the wonderful transformation.

Instead she received a scowl and a “this isn’t what I wrote” comment.

It was true; the entire piece had been amended. Now it was more concise. Easier to understand. Tighter. Better. What was the problem?

The problem, the scowler said, was that the short one had taken his words and turned them into her own. And in doing so she’d restyled the writer’s original thoughts, ignored his hard work…and hurt his feelings.

Not wanting to trample anyone’s self-esteem, she suggested they do another draft–but this time they would discuss any changes before they were made. By the time the modifications passed muster, the editor was relieved to be done and the scowler was no longer scowling.

This goes to show an editor and a writer can work together, but leaves the short one wondering…

…who won the rewrite shuffle and which job is really more fun?

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