Would you Know an Editor, if you Saw One?
by Don Ford
I stood one day looking out the window, and watched folks as they filed by on the street below. They were close enough to see each face. Some were smiling; some even winked when they saw me checking them out.
But who were all of these people? Or better yet, who were each of them; what did they do in life. One was a baker. At least he wore the clothes of one. Another was obviously a policeman with special hat and a gun at his side. Maybe that one over there was a Librarian; she had a key to open the place.
But of all who passed by this morning, were any of them writers? More importantly, were any of them Editors. Maybe if I knew what an Editor was, that would help. Any one of them could be, but which ones were. if any.
Could you tell he was or wasn’t an Editor by the lines he penned? An Editor is a position that is held by those who love the written word; those who are irritated enough by the abuses of the language to do something about it. They are rewriters, mostly. A Dentist fixes your tooth, a Clockmaker works on timepieces, and an Editor puts a smile on another writer’s face, when he helps his manuscript to be the best it could possibly be, by the time it hits the hands of the Publisher.
An Editor is the average writer’s best friend. Many writers know what they want to say or are trying to say, the Editor put the correct words into the right order for them. The writer’s work now has a certain polish or shine about it! Editors make the writer LOOK GOOD!
The Editor becomes the writer’s Shadow or Muse after a while, until they get to know one another personally. When I began work as an Editor, though I took a serious interest in my clients’ works, I stayed at a distance with just the facts. I did the editing and not much more.
The same writer was returning more often with other stories to edit. Soon I got to know the writer’s style and was able to do even a better polish on their work. I started to get my head into their story; I was enjoying their tales like a reader would. If I didn’t like where their story was going, I’d say something in blue highlights, but I wouldn’t change it. Most of the time they would come back to change it themselves. This was their call; their story.
“Editing requires the strange ability to stand in the place of the audience and the author simultaneously.” S. Zvan