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Why s it that I find some really good stories that are littered with spelling and grammatical errors because the writer has no editor? Are editors so hard to come by? Or is it fashionable in some obscure way not to use an editor? It is such a shame when a good story is so spoiled by silly errors that could be so easily corrected.

 

OK, rant over ...

 

Jeff

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Yes at times its hard to get an editor.

 

if we are new to the website we don't know about how to get editor

 

Sometimes the writer is too busy to get it edited

 

yes there are factors why ... but there are factors where a reader has to choose between putting up with it or skip to another story

 

sometimes it be nice to volunteer to edit a story by contacting the writer ... that's if the writer is still writing and willing to have his story edited

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Editing can add a lot to a story, but a story has to have a lot going for it before editing if it is to be successful. The author has the primary responsibility. His imagination and creativity are the first and most important factors in producing a good story. If his is a good story, good editing can enhance it to some extent.

 

Some authors don't really appreciate what an editor can do for the story. I've known some to respond negatively to suggested changes in wording...even to spelling corrections...as if they felt the editor was trying to take over the story. Some authors don't seem to care much for the language. English has a lot of rules and rules are there to be broken seems to be the attitude of some. It's been a lot of fun helping several authors with their work, but everyone involved has to understand that producing a story is a team effort and the author is the team leader.

 

Before I agree to edit or proofread for an author, I read a sample of his work. If it's very poorly written, I will decline the opportunity every time. Some authors have great imaginations and are highly creative, but are seriously lacking in language skills.

 

Are editors hard to come by? I think they are for some, but a good author, who takes pride in his work and wants to make a contribution to the GA community and to the language, will never have to go begging.

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Wooo....I second mikeL and HH5's sentiments on this issue. Novice writers seem to think that open ended or "free writing" has no rules. They are so wrong. Hence, these writers pad their work, duplicate words and use words that bestselling writers don't use. I tend to skip these stories. A lot of writers use several viewpoints in one story, even on a single page... why on earth do they do this. I dont mind taking on an author from scratch. If the author is willing to accept my ruthless editing style. I will not entertain bursts of insane emotion from a novice who thinks he knows it all. When that happens he must find another person to help him. I spend hours mulling over a chapter and forcing myself to not be subjective about the writing. The writer writes and the editor edits. This is my belief. I have been editing and writing stories for a long time. I have won awards for my writing. When a writer fights me I simply stop the editing process. As a writer i too have editors. All writers should have an editor. I have seen such immature writing on many sites that it has become quite sickening. I love helping out, but i refuse to have my experience countered by inexperience hence, i do not volunteer my services to just anyone. I have come to a conclusion: if anyone wants my help, they can email me. I want to see a piece they have written. I want my name mentioned as the editor. I also want recognition, for i know, without my help, as the editor, the work is far less perfect than it would ever be.

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I would have to admit that I might not have the confidence to edit in the way that I think Louis and MikeL are suggesting, ie. changing the script because it may be poor; I can correct the grammar and I can spell, those are the sort of errors that annoy me. I've just read a page where six, quite short conversational sentences begin with 'Hey' - come on, there are other ways to begin a comment! I suppose being English as opposed to American doesn't help; my friends and acquaintances don't talk in that style.

 

One comment to HH5:I am fairly new to this website and often it seems very difficult to contact the writer. Another point in general is that I am fairly impatient and don't like waiting for the next chapter so I only read stories that are complete; is there much point in offering to edit a completed story?

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If you want to edit, I suggest that you ask those seeking editors to send you a chapter or two (through the PM feature or through an alternated mailbox) to see if the raw material is close enough to where you can help.

 

If you are just looking for well-edited stories, click on the GA Stories/Stories/title to find a story and then look to see who edited it. Then, follow that editor, and usually a good editor will seek good writers.

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One comment to HH5:I am fairly new to this website and often it seems very difficult to contact the writer. Another point in general is that I am fairly impatient and don't like waiting for the next chapter so I only read stories that are complete; is there much point in offering to edit a completed story?

 

Sometimes ... and then sometimes not (mostly) ... it all depends on the situation and the story

 

There was one situation where me and another author was trying to help out a starting author.

But he never reach back ... and we can only hope the best where ever this teen author is ...

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Editing is great for correcting spelling, misused words and typos, but I don't like when an editor changes the whole tone of a story by cutting out or adding things just to satisfy a few arcane English language rules. Editors are there to help the author catch any mistakes he might have made, not to take over the story and force changes because it doesn't meet his standards for "perfect" grammar or whatever.

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Editing is great for correcting spelling, misused words and typos, but I don't like when an editor changes the whole tone of a story by cutting out or adding things just to satisfy a few arcane English language rules. Editors are there to help the author catch any mistakes he might have made, not to take over the story and force changes because it doesn't meet his standards for "perfect" grammar or whatever.

 

I agree. It's not the editor's place to take charge of the story. It's not helpful for the the author to reject any and all recommendations. They have to work together. Perfect grammar is not required to have a good story, but highly irregular grammar will doom a story to oblivion.

Edited by MikeL
  • Like 3
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I have done some editing both on and off site, and I always agree before hand on the level of input the author is looking for. Some have simply wanted someone to check for spelling/grammar errors, others have been more "rip it to shreds if it needs it". Unless specifically agreed beforehand, I will vary rarely suggest rewrites unless I have worked with the author before; though I have no issue with using the proverbial red pen.

 

But I agree with the sentiment that the story is the author's not the editor's.

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Editing is great for correcting spelling, misused words and typos, but I don't like when an editor changes the whole tone of a story by cutting out or adding things just to satisfy a few arcane English language rules. Editors are there to help the author catch any mistakes he might have made, not to take over the story and force changes because it doesn't meet his standards for "perfect" grammar or whatever.

Grammar should be suited to the situation.

 

For example, in a story written in third person the narrator is usually omniscient and independent; that is, they can tell us what's going on in the minds of everyone in the story (if you want them to). They do not speak as any of the characters in the story. Such an omniscient third-person narrator should use correct Standard English grammar.

 

In dialogue the grammar should be appropriate to each speaker. High school and college teachers should use correct Standard English grammar. Teenagers should use the grammar and vernacular of their age group and this will deviate from Standard English grammar. Dialogue, both spoken and internal and in internal monologues, must reflect how a living person with the education and age level and position in society of each character would speak, so the speaker sounds real.

 

Spelling and punctuation always need to be correct. When dialogue uses vernacular and slang words, real or invented, it needs to be consistent.

 

Colin Posted Image

Edited to make it read worldwide Standard English Grammar and not just American.

Edited by colinian
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Well, let's say correct Standard English grammar rather than limiting it to American English grammar as there are slightly different conventions in different parts of the world.

You're right. Sorry about that. I was so thoroughly indoctrinated to think "Standard American English Grammar" in my Linguistics course that it stuck. I've edited my post.

 

Colin Posted Image

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I would love an editor. I'll admit I'm horrible with grammer, compound words. I get comments all the time saying they loved the story, but I could use and editor. I got one, and he was great but he was committed to two other writers. I have a feeling we have more who are writing then who are editing...but again I'm so in need of one. sidenote, I did go through the proper channels to get the editor I had, so if anyone is interested...so am I :D just saying...

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  • Site Administrator

I don't typically say I'm an editor. I'm still relearning too many grammar rules to make that my official title. I do beta read and I will point out any mistakes I know. If I have suggestions for rewording or changing a scene I write them up in comments. If I think something is awkward or should be changed, I say something.

 

Then I let the author decide. If someone consistently breaks common sense rules that I remind them of, I tend to stop editing and tell them to go through and fix it themselves and then get back to me. I don't get upset, but I won't waste the time I could be using for other projects if the person I'm helping isn't 100% on board with how I do things. I've listened and learned things from writers at times too though, so it's a two way street. I'm always open to discuss a comment, rule, or question I have.

 

Using a team is invaluable. They can help you figure out your plot and where your writing is going, if you let them, and they make it just that much better. Even if you don't take half the suggestions an editor makes, at least you're thinking about the story!

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  • 1 month later...

I see both sides of the page on this one.

A writer pours so much of them-self into a piece of work that sometimes it is difficult to see it stripped back and rearranged.

 

Editors are perfectionists who see the potential and want to guide a work to be better and achieve all it can be.

 

Personally I'd tend to think that it depends on the relationship between the writer and the editor. Some people are only wanting someone to proof read their work and check for spelling and inconsistencies. Others seek for their efforts to be shaped and guided. Yet others dream of seeing their work fly high with the work of an editor.

 

Don't forget there is a variety of editing styles. If your editing to publish I'd completely agree that you need to be harsh. The success of the work depends on it. If a writer is writing for enjoyment and as a hobby is it necessary to be as harsh? I don't know, however I do think that there is a balance that could be struck by agreeing the involvement of the editor from the onset.

 

Lets be honest, an editor is key to style, sense and continuity of a story. As an editor albeit for script work, I appreciate that my own written work needs its own editor in order to be all it can be. Even my own writing needs editing, I too make mistakes.

 

Taking a raw work from its first draft to its completed presentation is indeed the work of a team effort from the writer, beta readers, and editors too boot. Personally if I read a story that grips me I can read beyond the errors, even if I have to bite my tongue, but I've also frequently stopped reading a work because it is just too frustratingly poorly written.

 

I've read some brilliant points by editors above this post on this thread and agree with many. I also understand the flip side of that coin though, so guess I'd say everyone is different in their approach, the way they work and the results they achieve.

Edited by Yettie One
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Depends on what you mean by editing. I don't have an editor. I know (and always find) mistakes when I reread my work. I hope that they aren't destracting enough to stop anyone from reading my stories. But the mistakes involve similar word (in spelling) swappage or a wrong punctation marks.

 

If editors did that, I'm usually okay with it. But as writing goes... editors have no close idea where a writer wants to take a story. Only the writer does. I don't take offense when someone tries to tell me to use a different word structure... like the dog was big vs. the dog was large. I had soemone once tell me, my stories is littered too much with fragments. Even when I explained, person couldn't understand why I used fragments. I tend to use fragments when moments are tense in my stories... he kept arguing that I could get that across with complete full sentences. So he was arguing the fact of using "perfect" English. I just waved off his suggestion. He obviously had no idea how to write as a novelist. If I wanted a term paper edited I would take it to him. Not a story.

 

My friend who is helping me edit Eye is a great editor. She goes through the story and asks me what I want to convey. We talk and then she reads again. She looks at my work not from a grammatical point of view but from creating moment point of view. She just tells me and points, "This part isn't working" or "Something's not right here" or "I'm almost there here" or "What's this part suppose to do again?" and I would look over those areas and rework them. I think this is a real editor and a dman good one too. She doesn't tell me how to write. Sure there are moments where she addresses things like... "this part is too choppy" "Wording is weird here" "Word order seems off" and then suggests a different order and we compare the two. Sometimes she's right. Other times we decide not to change what I wrote.

 

Lets be honest, an editor is key to style, sense and continuity of a story.

I disagree with this comment. If that is the case then writers have no purpose in writing. An editor helps a writer better voice/show the writer's style, sense, and continuity of a story. But they aren't key. The key to style, sense, and continuity is the writer's own understanding of the type and feel of story they want to write. Writers have to know what they want to invoke. Without that knowledge or hint of a knowledge an editor can't do much. Can't help the writer. If what's said (quoted above) is the case editors should be writers, and writers should be editors. Though I understand and agree with the underlying assessment that editors are important. Even the writer serving as a editor. Which is another conversation... writers must have the skills to edit their own work. Learn to read their works outside of their own writing eyes. It's a hard thing to do.

 

For example, in a story written in third person the narrator is usually omniscient and independent; that is, they can tell us what's going on in the minds of everyone in the story (if you want them to). They do not speak as any of the characters in the story. Such an omniscient third-person narrator should use correct Standard English grammar.

 

In dialogue the grammar should be appropriate to each speaker. High school and college teachers should use correct Standard English grammar. Teenagers should use the grammar and vernacular of their age group and this will deviate from Standard English grammar. Dialogue, both spoken and internal and in internal monologues, must reflect how a living person with the education and age level and position in society of each character would speak, so the speaker sounds real.

 

I disagree with this comment also. Omniscient 3rd person shouldn't be required to write with Standard English grammar. I've always taken the stance that POV doesn't matter at all. A well writtern and well told story will always be well told and written regardless of POV. A thrid person (any form) can be as personal as a first person and a first person story can be as distanced as what a third person story is percieved to be. So it would not matter how or what kind of English the POV takes, only that it is written well. By well, I mean with purpose and consistancy.

 

Grammer in dialogue is important. I agree. But your need of high school and college teachers using correct Standard English grammer and teens not is misguided. Also the fact that education, age lvl, and position in society would determine how one speaks is very wrong. That would be called a stereotype and generalization, which should be avoided in writing. I say make your characters interesting. I know a professor who talks just like a "hick" - accent and all... and most people assume he's an idiot, but the guy has a PhD. That's a very generalized and easy way of thinking how to write well. Sure if you wanted to depict that sub-culture... if you are writing about the high class society of Martha's vineyard or WASPs, then yes, Standard English grammer and structure may and should be depicted. It wouldn't create a realistic picture if they are speaking in slang or abrreviated words like 'cause for because or 'mazing for amazing. College teachers and High school teachers come froma vast array of backgrounds. They all (sure some can be) aren't your hotsy totsy kinda of folks. Like students who come from all sorts of backgrounds. Each person and character is unique. Generalizing them would only hinder story telling.

 

Internal dialogue, monologues must appropriately reflect the moment and how that person is experiencing the moment. A rich person's grief could be the same as a poor mans. A southern Texan can feel anger like a Yankee. As long as the writer is consistant and always in character - sex, age, social and economical wealth does not matter. Having the ability to sound real is not invoked by how closely a character's "speech" fit a stereotype but how consistant the author is with his character.

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  • 1 month later...

Oldish topic, one addition from this writer's POV:

 

For me, the story is never quite done. So my editor gets it (my SO of 17 years, therefore sees absolutely no reason to spare my feelings Posted Image) and I then get it back and make more changes. One could argue that I should let my editor post the story, so I can't get my sticky mittens on it again, but I can't quite get myself to that point yet, and so far he hasn't quite mastered the art of predictive editing either.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Editing is a necessary evil.

 

No, no, editing is great! It's the finishing touch on a great story, the expert ironing out of all the wrinkles on an expensive shirt, if you will.

 

(podga, kissing ass of new editor in the hopes of more humane treatment Posted Image )

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  • Site Moderator

As far as I'm concerned, the work belongs to the author. Only the author has the right to make the changes. I can only make suggestions for changes. Like Cia, I make comments about what I'm suggesting.

 

I'm currently working with a relatively new author to the site who's first language isn't English. I'll suggest a simple rearrangement of words sometimes that clears up the thought. There is also times where something isn't clear and I can't make any sense of it. I point it out to the author and he will look at it. Sometimes it's just a matter of not translating something to get the point across.

 

It can be a little rough when an author and an editor first begin to work together, but as they get used to working together, they can become quite a team. I rarely get something back for a second edit. I think that's on part to the way I work. When it comes to the reading part, I take my time.

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Here are my two-cents:

Nearly everyone where I used to work would come to me for editing (including some for whom English was their second language). Though it was not fiction, I felt I was pretty good at it. The key question from me to the writer was always the same: Is this what you mean? The thought of changing the idea or meaning for someone is quite horrifying to me. The worst thing that I can recall from my teachers was something changed along with the notation "This is what you meant to say." Less traumatic was something circled in red pen with the word “awkward” in the margin. For me, that was a good way to find out that my meaning was unclear and it was time to rewrite. Some grammatical rules can be set aside on occasion, so long as the meaning and idea are "heard" the way they were intended. Someday when I am braver, I will let someone take a crack at one of my “babies.” I will say that when do, I will need a strong but compassionate editor.

 

As a side note, THANK GOD FOR SPELLCHECK! Posted Image

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I do actually use the 'awkward-I'd write it this way' comment quite a bit. Randomness is correct, only the author knows what they want to say but a good editor can often make a very educated guess. Especially if they've been working with an author for a while.

 

I do have to say that relying on spell check is a very bad idea. I recently read a published ebook I spent money on :( and there were glaring faults that spellcheck couldn't find and mark, like udder for utter and hand full for handful, simply because the words aren't spelled incorrectly - they're just the wrong words! There is no substitute for knowing your vocabulary or having someone on your team who does. At the very least, if you are not 100% sure you should look it up.

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I do have to say that relying on spell check is a very bad idea. I recently read a published ebook I spent money on Posted Image and there were glaring faults that spellcheck couldn't find and mark, like udder for utter and hand full for handful, simply because the words aren't spelled incorrectly - they're just the wrong words! There is no substitute for knowing your vocabulary or having someone on your team who does. At the very least, if you are not 100% sure you should look it up.

 

I have to agree with Cia on spellcheck. It is a very unreliable tool...too many homophones in the English language.

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I agree with both of you about spellcheck.

I view it as a preliminary step, it is a tool to knock out many errors when I write too fast and my fingers cannot keep up, but it is just that, a tool.

Only a human editor can make certain distinctions, determine meaning, or find the "right" word.

If I sounded down on editors, sorry. (I guess I do need one!) So... what kind of editing should post #22 get? lol

 

Posted Image

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