Editors hate everything. Yes they do.
I know a few editors and they seem like okay people...that is, until I got to know them better. THAT's when I realized that editors, as a whole (oh, yeah, I'm lumping them all in there together) really don't like much of anything. Okay, maybe that's not entirely true. I do believe they ALL love well written prose and perfectly manicured manuscripts--but come on! How many of those even exist? Seriously. That's just unrealistic and quite unfair to us little guys who THINK we're doing a pretty good job at this writing gig. But I guess that is the job of the editor--to hate (the whole bunch of haters). Oh, and editors love booze (yep, all of them. There I go again, lumping them together). So booze and perfectly manicured manuscripts. That's about it.
Seriously, take a look at this:
That is a screen shot of edits I received from one of my editors (Melissa Sawatsky, I love you--you hater). The blue marks are her suggestions. The black marks (can you even see any black marks?) happen to be my original prose. Now here's the thing, she takes my detailed paragraph and witty words and chops them down into one or two sentences that say the exact same thing, but with less words. In the margins she will write WORDINESS. What the....? HELLO? I'm a author, I write with WORDS. Lots of them. I love words. I'm a lover not a hater. But editors? Nope, they're not lovers at all. I can't even imagine it being so (yuck). I mean, look at this:
How is that love? I'm totally not feeling it. I don't feel love at all. In fact, I fell the exact opposite of love. (She would take these last four sentence of my blog and do this: That is not love. That is the exact opposite of love.) I know her. *I'm biting my lip right now*.
So here is a list of things editors hate (what I've seen first hand and what I've been told):
1) The word "I" in a first person POV story. Two many "I's" close together and WHACK! You will get your ego slapped. So how in the heck do you write in first person and not use I so much? Good question. Rule: try and make the object of the sentence the subject. This is what I've been told. I still don't execute it very well. Here's an article for you from editor Lane Diamond that explains it a tad better: The Problem with First-Person Narrative--Beware the I-Bombs
2) Narrative that breaks up action. They will delete it, toss it out, and then tell you to knock it off.
3) Puppies. I'm pretty sure they hate all kinds of baby animals.
4) Excessive use of dialogue tags, (said, asked, demanded, spoke, explained). They HATE those. So use them sparingly or your editor will grow horns and beat you with a pitch fork. No joke.
5) State of being verbs, otherwise known as SOB verbs (makes me laugh every time I type SOB). SOB verbs like am, is, was, are--editors will kill you. Maybe not literally, but you will feel like you've died a little inside when they get through with you. (Check out another article about this very thing by Lane Diamond. Those SOB verb are #$%&#$ ).
6) Show don't tell. That's a given. But sometimes, as a writer, it's hard to recognize when you're doing it. But boy...the angry eyes your editor will give you when you make the mistake of telling *shivers*
7) Monotonous sentence structure (Eric Pinder hates this). Whether it's long sentences or short sentences. They'll make you mix it up. They will chop and they will add (all suggestions, of course. But those suggestions will be AWESOME. Darn them).
8) One editor I know foams at the mouth when you use the word "titter". So don't do that. Foaming at the mouth is a bad thing. Not good (right Stevie Mikayne?). And forget using the word "suddenly." You will get a backhanded slap for that one (I never use that word because I'm not a fan of pain. I learned my lesson).
9) Words. They hate words. "Simplify it stupid." Okay, they don't say that, but when you see how they took your mega long paragraph and shortened it into two sentences that pretty much said the same thing, it's what you'll be thinking. Editors are subtle that way.
10) NaNoWriMo. Editors HATE November's National Novel Writing Month. But since editors hate everything, their opinion on this matter isn't a valid enough reason not to participate if you wanna (Lane Diamond is gonna kill me for saying that).
11) "Blinking with her eyes" or "Pointed with her finger" or "Nodded with her head" OHHHHHH, they HATE that! (Megan Harris REALLY doesn't like this). What else are they going to blink with, their ears? Editors think they're funny when they say this, but they're not. Editors aren't funny people. Not really. But they know how to make people cry really well.
12) And unicorns. They hate unicorns. Or anything else magical for that matter. Of this, I'm pretty sure.
In all seriousness, though, I wouldn't give up ANY of my editors. They may be haters, but I know it's all for my benefit. They might not like the way in which I wrote something, and they might not like my excessive use of words, but they LOVE me! (Oh, yes you do! Admit it Lane, Melissa, and Megan...you adore me). Because they love me, they want me to present the best work I can so that I can succeed. THAT'S what a great editor does.
My editors are truly amazing people. They sacrifice and work so hard on my behalf and for that I am ever so grateful. They help me to write in the way I had always hoped to write. I've learned more about the art of writing from these three people than from any teacher, professor, or writing instructor. And even though I'm a slow learner, they hang in there and encourage me onward.
If you find the right editor, you will totally feel the same. I guarantee it.
So what else do editors hate? Love your editor? Need to find one? What's your experience with editors like? Do tell.
11/19/2012 01:38:05 am
I love my editor! When she's not chopping my creative words or complaining about my Midwestern slang. But I've never tittered, so I think she loves me, too. Or tolerates me, at least. ;)
11/19/2012 04:25:05 am
I love my editors too! They're the best. I hardly ever disagree with their suggestions. But Stevie seems like a tough cookie. Good luck to you on that :)
11/19/2012 01:40:37 am
11/19/2012 04:28:12 am
Nooooooo! You were supposed to say I ADORE Angela. She's the best.
Ahaha I was crying laughing through this. I try to regulate my own writing, but of course, this stuff all slips by and ends up in my writing anyway. I cringe every time I catch the word "suddenly" in my writing--it's not often, but it still makes me die a little inside.
11/19/2012 04:31:06 am
I'm telling you, Elena, having an editor (or a few) is the absolutely best thing I could've ever done. It's a must. Seriously. I LOVE watching my editors take my work and help me fine tune it into something much better than I could've ever done on my own. I Love my editors completely. I value their opinions (which is usually 99.9% right). You won't ever regret finding and working with a great editor. I promise you.
11/19/2012 04:32:05 am
Exactly! Like I said above in another comment, they're usually 99.9% right with their suggestions. My editors rock too!
I'd love a suggestion or two for where to find an excellent editor. I'm nearing the end of my first draft on a story and will need one soon.
11/19/2012 04:50:42 am
These two editors are amazing (I know them well, though I've never worked with them--GREAT people. I totally recommend them. I'm not giving you my editors info because they're MINE). You can try them out, see if their fees work for you. If not, keep looking around until you find the right person for you :) Best of luck, Tim!
11/19/2012 05:33:57 am
Here's a couple more for you:
11/19/2012 05:11:42 am
Megan said to give you here info too. I have worked with her and she's great too (but she's still mine). I guess I can share :)
11/26/2012 11:26:47 pm
Tim, before hiring an editor, read this: http://dianeloveswords.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/42/
11/19/2012 02:29:20 am
Suddenly, I feel with my heart that editors titter at us behind our backs while we slave away at the writing of the books, I thought to myself.
11/19/2012 04:37:28 am
I am most definitely a better writer with my editors. They make me look smarter than I am :)
As an editor, I hate all those things (plus some, although I love me some puppies). The other issue that irritates me is autonomous body parts, where some part of the body takes an independent action all by itself. My favorite example: "His eyes flew across the room and landed on her cleavage." But it might be as simple as "My hand reached out and grabbed the doorknob." Or the obvious: "I reached out my hand and grabbed the doorknob." Hmm. What else would I have used to...oh nevermind. But as a writer, the most irritating thing is when my editors point out something to me when I know better, something I've told my editing clients to stop doing, and there I was, doing it too. Seems writing and editing come from two separate halves of the brain: the love side and the hate side.
11/19/2012 04:39:22 am
I still say that "His eyes flew across the room and landed on her cleavage" is still possible--in a zombie book (Seriously, I may have to steal this line and stick it in one of my zombie books--cracks me up).
11/26/2012 10:49:05 am
Here is what is going on my tomob stone: 'It's MORE THAN, not OVER". Drives me completely insane and I am a lowly writer, not an editor.
11/19/2012 03:13:02 am
Nothing but love, Angela... for you, and your characters. Think of us as the tool you use to finish sculpting and polishing an already brilliant work of art.
11/19/2012 04:40:22 am
Yeah! Let's totally think that :) I like that idea (you liar).
11/19/2012 03:52:04 am
HAHAHAHA! Oh my. Love this. Thank you for making a slightly frustrating day so suddenly better. I'm nodding my head in agreement. :D
11/19/2012 04:41:06 am
You are most welcome, my friend :)
11/19/2012 03:59:11 am
Are we that bad? *evil grin* Actually, I'll add to your post. We also don't like movies or TV. I'm constantly finding flaws in what I see on the screen. Okay, maybe not "constantly". I also find things that are done well in TV, movies, and even books. Imagine that. However, I'm not sure I can really ever remove my editor's hat. Think of the hat hair. *shivers*
11/19/2012 04:46:11 am
Yes. Yes you are.
11/19/2012 08:37:22 am
Glad to make you laugh. It was pretty freakin' awesome, wasn't it :)
11/19/2012 08:31:31 am
Thank you for this. I really enjoyed your wit and sometime painful truth about editors. I love mine as well and she leaves me the best comments, sometimes about the writing but there are times when she likes what I've said and tells me so. Thanks for the laugh!!
11/19/2012 08:39:46 am
Whenever one of my editors leave a comment like, "I love this line!" or "This part is perfect." I grow wings and walk above the ground, my toes inches above the earth's surface. It's awesome. Those are few and far between, but I live for them. I really do. My editors are the best. They really are.
11/20/2012 03:23:32 am
I love my pet dragon. She's pink with purple wings and she breathes fire. I feed her misplaced commas and apostrophes ... and adverbs. She loves adverbs (I hate them.)
11/20/2012 03:31:09 am
Awww... I want a pet dragon, too. I once met a guy--I think his name was Jack--who sold magical beans. He told me about a witch who bred fire-breathing, poor-grammar-eating dragons. I didn't have a need for one at the time, but now... I'd better look her up. :)
11/21/2012 02:48:48 am
My reaction to my first editorial letter & marked-up manuscript: "I thought she liked it?!" She'd acquired something that, once dissected, was apparently total shit. ;)
11/27/2012 08:55:10 am
This is so good! I will never send a piece out that I don't run through your list first. Someday I hope to be proficient enough or worthy enough for an agent!
11/27/2012 10:18:19 am
Agent, schmagent. Don't like 'em. Wish I could feed 'em to my dragon.
12/5/2012 01:54:52 am
I'm convinced that the scientific name for editors is 'criticus maximus.'
Angela - When you finish writing something and are satisfied with it. Put it down and leave it alone for a while. You need to create some space between it and your consciousness. Come back in 15 minutes with a fresh mind and proof it again. There is a good chance you will find some of those little errors that tick us editors off.
1/15/2017 05:34:08 am
Tony, Tony, Tony - read the article before you start editing. So like an editor to dive in and start modifying the copy before getting the overall story arc!
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