Friday, May 7, 2010

Find a good editor

I WAS ASKING MY freelance writers and editors group who they get to edit their stories, and I was shocked. One of the writers said that she didn't need an editor. She's a good writer and self-editor and doesn't make spelling or factual mistakes.

It stunned me. I'm a good writer and terrific self-editor, and I always feel nervous when I throw my blogs out there with no one reading them in advance. I constantly write with instead of who or that instead of than. I flip-flop words or transpose letters in a single word. Even though I push tight writing, I get wordy. I can't help it; I'm human.

In the 1990s, I was the auto-racing writer for a newspaper, and on Saturdays I'd be given the auto-racing page to design. Naturally, my column would go on that page, and I'd ask nearly everyone in the sports and news departments to read it. I make mistakes, and I need an editor.

And that writer needs an editor, whether she thinks so or not.

Another writer on the freelance network has family members edit her stories or articles. She says that they're all educated and have a writing background. I can understand this writer's feelings, since I have my wife read my magazine or newspaper stories for errors. Of course, my wife is a copy editor at the local newspaper. Different kettle of fish.

My advice: Find a good editor, whether it's a family member who has a degree in English or a professional like me. Don't take chances.

P.S.: Check out the blog Good Writing Needs Editing.

Maybe it ought to be Good Writing Needs Editing, Too.

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(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
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More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

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