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In Praise Of Editors ...

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And beta-readers, for that matter.


My editor and I had a slight blip a couple of months ago. I was about to publish my second prompt response when I realised that my main character changed his name halfway through. Neither of us had noticed. In the same prompt, I committed a style faux-pas which had also passed my editor by. He wasn’t impressed with himself and suggested that the next blog post I wrote, should be used to comment on his editorial abilities. So, I’m doing so, just not quite in the way he intended. ;)


What I’m going to say will inevitably be focussed on him because I’m a newcomer to writing and he’s the only editor I’ve had. But they’re also meant as a general note of thanks and praise to those who edit here on GA.


I’ve only been writing stories for a few months but I do have a good knowledge of English and reasonable grasp of grammar. So, in theory at least, my editor’s life could be a lot worse. I’m lucky to be writing in English as my first language, something I share with my editor, sort of …


He is the person who started me writing and he has been unfailingly supportive, encouraging words at hand whenever I feel down or unsure about my writing. He has a full-time, mentally and physically tiring job, yet he always makes time to read and comment on anything I send him. And there’s the little matter of his own writing, as well.


I suspect that I’m lucky to have someone who, although not English, understands my quirky Englishness. His comments are often funny, always illuminating and they’re always couched as suggestions. Whenever I have a sentence or paragraph which doesn’t quite work, he always notices it and comes up with a reason why and a solution. I may not go with his solution, but his reasoning, I always follow and so, find my own solution. When I do make a recurring grammatical or stylistic error, it is corrected with an explanation of why, so I can learn.


These comments and notes are short, but they’ve all taken time to write and he’s had to think about the story in some detail. And just in case you’re thinking that three prompt responses are the sum of what he’s had to wade through, there are some 26,000 words of two ongoing stories as well.


He also acts as my beta-reader and his reader responses are fascinating. One chapter I wrote which I thought was nothing out of the ordinary, he raved about. Another, which I trailed because I was so convinced he’d love it, got a warm but unexceptional response. It’s an excellent reminder that I’m not my best judge when it comes to second-guessing reader responses.


Why does he do this? For the love of it and so he can help other writers express themselves to the best of their abilities. Certainly not for any payment. I thank him with all my heart - my writing improves all the time because of him. I also thank all the other editors and beta-readers on GA who give of their time and expertise so freely.

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Nice tribute Northie. Editors, here on GA, work without any financial benefits. It's their passion and love for them. I salute each and every editor, importantly mine ( ;) ). Thank you all.


Nice job Northie... :)

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 This post is abundantly kind and generous. This is what encouraged me so much about GA - people volunteered out the kindness of their hearts to help me improve my writing.  You point out the danger of trying to second guess what readers will cheer or pan so well. I cannot speak for anyone else, but it has surely happened to me, too. Your tribute is enough to make a strong man blush.

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