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Editing with Love

Leonicka Valcius: Editing with Love

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Editing with Love

I’m not known for mincing words or being gentle when I edit. It feels disingenuous to write comments and queries the way I was taught in my copy-editing course (lots of sugar coating and rhetorical questions).  As a result, editorial notes I send by email sometimes come across as harsh and nit-picky (Especially when it’s for a friend who just wanted me to “look this over” not “tear it apart.” Whoops?) Still, I firmly believe that honest, clear, and direct feedback is best. How else will the writer improver their craft?

Because of this, my favorite way to critique is in person. There’s something to be said about meeting a writer for a coffee and talking about their work. Writing, like other arts, is intensely personal and I like being able to gauge the writer’s reactions to my comments. Do they understand what I mean or do I need to clarify a point?  Are we on the same page or did I completely misunderstand their vision? Are my comments helpful and encouraging or is the author freaking out? It takes more time and requires a closer relationship with the author but I’m happy to do it if it means they walk away feeling energized and excited to improve their manuscript. I’m a tough editor, but I do it with love.

What kind of feedback do you like receiving from editors or critique partners?

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Blogger Neuravinci said...

Brutal honesty is the best. Sugar-coating causes me to wonder whether the person editing is being fully open and honest. It becomes hard for me to gauge if they are comfortable/confident enough to tell me what they truly think. Brutality, though harsh, brings about progress and drives evolution. Sugar-coating only brings about cavities.

June 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM  

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