Really an Editor? What is the Role?

Edit by fapro CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

If you’re an editor, then you should do everything in your power to help writers, not tear them down.” ~ Scott Biddulph Two Drops of Ink


The Role of an Editor?

Scott is of the opinion that writers and editors should work togeth­er for the benefit of the public­a­tion to which they are both contrib­ut­ing. I agree. It is clear many editors see themselves as a guard­i­an in the public­a­tion process. They should see themselves as an enabler. A partner both of the publish­er and the writer. Understanding the needs of both is key. Scott made these comments largely because of the frustra­tions he exper­i­enced as a writer, trying to get published. He is also an editor, so he is well aware of the challenges.


His view is that editors should be easing the public­a­tion path for the writer. Of course there will always be things that do not fit the public­a­tion, or need a massive re-write. Yet even if the writer’s submis­sion is too poor for public­a­tion, then an editor should provide some guidance. Is that always the case?


Content Needed


I edited a quarterly magazine at one time in my career. My role was as much to work with the publish­er to look at the content we needed for the next edition as it was to edit submis­sions. I had to do a lot of work with some writers, bring­ing their submis­sions up to the stand­ards we required for public­a­tion. Those having the most trouble were special­ists in a specif­ic field. It was clear they were experts, but writing was not their forte. Often the best approach was a re-write. When that was neces­sary. I would send a copy of the re-write to the author, telling why the re-write was neces­sary.


Writers bring ideas to the table. Editors need to make sure those ideas get presen­ted in the best light. They must consider the needs of the audience, Indeed they should know that much better than the writer who is present­ing a submis­sion. The relation­ship should become much more a partner­ship. They should offer ways the author can alter their work to present it in the best light. Editors should not enter a war of words with writers.


They are always in need of content and writers to provide it.


The Good Editor

Scott Biddulph makes the point “A good editor ‘dreams the writers dream’ by having the skills to do not only copy-editing but also devel­op­ment­al editing. A good editor must know and see grammar mistakes like a hawk”. I agree, it is their job to correct the faux pas made by the writer and ensure the public­a­tion benefits from the writer’s knowledge. They should be able to see where a story needs more devel­op­ment and encour­age the writer to perform further research.


How they treat the writer is all import­ant.


Take a look at the rest of the associ­ated article on Two Drops of Ink.

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