Mistakes a Bad Editor Makes - Part 3

Mistakes a Bad Editor Makes – Part 3

Mistakes a Bad Editor Makes - Part 3
Photo by Emily Elisabeth

Mistakes a Bad Editor Makes – Part 3

Over the past week, I have published Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series: Mistakes a Bad Editor Makes. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. For Part 2, go here.

A Bad Editor Misinterprets the Writer’s Message

The only thing worse than removing a writer’s voice is misinterpreting his message. It happens all the time in fiction. When an editor comes into the picture, he’s looking at your work for the very first time. The way he interprets things is based on the words the writer has written as well as his own perceptions and beliefs.

Depending on the specific project requirements, an editor’s job is to, well, edit the writer’s work. Improve it. Make it better.

So, when the editor goes to improve the writer’s work, some things get changed. The writer wrote the story the way he saw it needed to be written. But when the editor comes in, the editor sees things that should be changed, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

It isn’t necessarily because the editor is bad. Most editors are talented individuals. They have a knack for what sounds and looks good and what reads well. They correct word choice mistakes and make your work shine.

And sometimes the writer fails to write clearly to make the message clear. Writers see things the way they see them and use the words they think are right. It can be difficult to take a step back and read the work with fresh eyes.

To avoid misinterpreting a writer’s message, editors must not make assumptions. If something is unclear, the editor should inquire about it with the writer.

Jody Calkins
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