“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?
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.