Editing (was: Pulling My Hair Out)

Subject: Editing (was: Pulling My Hair Out)
From: Jim Grey <jwg -at- ACD4 -dot- ACD -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 1994 08:49:09 -0500

Shelly LaRock came pert near to shooting her boyfriend:
>So why is it that he asks me to review his resume and cover
>letter and when I suggest changes he takes offense? He
>actually got down-right snotty about it. And it's not
>just him. It's lots of people. Does anyone understand
>that this is what we do and that an edit mark is not
>a cut-down?

I swear that some people are just looking for an ego boost when
they ask you to edit something they wrote.

Back in college, one roommate always wanted me to edit his
papers. When I'd return his work awash in a sea of red ink,
he'd be livid. "But Bill," I'd say, "there are six sentence
fragments in that paragraph!" "That's my *style*!" Bill would
whine. Fortunately, Bill now lives in Texas and no longer
can pester me for edits. (He works for TI, as a matter of fact.
Hi Pam Tatge! Maybe *you'll* encounter his stuff someday.)

My mom once asked me to "look over, see what you'd've done
differently" a letter to the editor she once wrote. So off I
marched, purple pen in hand, and rearranged here, marked up
there, and hurt the *heck* out of Mom. Fortunately, she got
over it quickly.

My best friend is writing a children's book. She showed me
a draft. I didn't even pick up my pen. I leafed through it
and reported: "Good premise, but the language needs a little
work." Boy, I wish she hadn't kept to herself just how much
of her sould had gone into this work. We're still working
through that one.

Sometimes, as a writer/editor, I feel like a bull in a china
shop when looking at others' work. But this is what I *do*.
In the case of Bill's papers, I feel I was right on target.
My edits to Mom's letter should have been open ended, rather
than specific. And I should have not "edited" Luahna's
book; rather, I should have told her how great it was that
she was writing it, and ask her about her plans for it.

jim grey
jim grey |"Ain't nothin' better in the world, you know
jwg -at- acd4 -dot- acd -dot- com |Than lyin' in the sun, listenin' to the radio" - Lighthouse
jimgrey -at- delphi -dot- com|GO/M d p+ c++(-) l u+ e- m*@ s+/ n+ h f++ g- w+@ t+ r- y+(*)
|ACD, Terre Haute, IN -- The Silicon Cornfield

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