East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Learning Editing for the Wrong Reason


The Dawn Patrol (1938 film)

The Dawn Patrol (1938 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its’ very late (4 am) and I’m very tired, having spent the day editing two scenarios for a roleplaying game, for a total of 15.000 words.

My brother helped me – we traded texts so that we would not suffer from “copy blindness”, but it’s been tough anyway.

And while I edited, I started thinking about some weird stuff going on in the heads of the people around here.

Last week a guy selling his services as an editor (in a rather unprofessional way – in my opinion, but that’s another matter) claimed many of his clients are not writers, but actually readers, in search of an approach to narrative which will allow them to understand if the book they are reading is worth their time.

Now, this idea is so mindboggingly stupid that I still want to believe it’s just a plain lie.

But just think about it for a second – people learning editing (which is something that requires long time and extensive practice, and there’s not two editors alike anyway) to be able to decide if they like what they are reading.

Based on the same principle, I should take a flying licence to watch The Dawn Patrol or study direction and composition to decide whether I like Dave Brubeck‘s music or not.

It’s demented.

And yet, there is this feeling, a lot of readers out there are not reading anymore, but they wish to wrestle with the story, outwit the author, and probably show they are better than him.
As if it was a video game, in which you need to outwit the programmers in order win.
And yet, you don’t need to get adegree in programming to play Monkey Island and have fun.

Weird people.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

3 thoughts on “Learning Editing for the Wrong Reason

  1. People like these guy let me astonished


  2. Sometimes I think that being a good editor is more difficult than being a good writer.
    The editor should help the writer to express and to tell effectively the story that THE WRITER wants to tell and not the one the editor would like to write himself.
    And is not easy to forget about ourselves and our preferences while reading to focus on the real problems the text could have.
    So to be a good editor you must be very professional and being professional is never easy whatever you choose to do.
    Some people are not honest enough to admit it.


    • True.
      As it’s true that no two editors will ever edit the same text in the same way – that’s why finding an editor you can work with is no joke.
      But there’s a lot of self-styled editors out there that seem to think seriously that they are actually more important than the writer.
      Mocking them mercilessly is the way to do it.


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