Saturday, September 10, 2011

A comment on editing

I often write about tightening copy, and here's a comment about my last post.
tom said...
Sometimes leaving a word or two in there makes the sentence a bit more conversational (a decision best left to editors, mind you.)

I think for emphasis it would not have hurt to say
"Until tonight, no rookie had ever scored..."

Granted it's not absolutely necessary but sometimes copy can be a bit too lean if you slice every gram of fat.
I agree with the commenter in theory. Editors have ruined my writing a time or two by cutting it to the bone. Still, the writer needs to think in terms of filling a space. On the Internet, there's plenty of room to be verbose (although online readers will tune out long stories); not so in newspapers and magazines.

Besides, I always want writers to think tight. Your assigning editors will appreciate it.

Thanks to tom for the comment. Keep your comments coming.

More editing/writing blog entries

1 comment:

  1. Funny story from my newspaper days: we had zoned sections where the same article ran in several editions. My copy chief shared his duties with a deputy so one time he did not see how badly written a story was until it arrived in the last edition, which was my section.

    He thought, "heck, I've got plenty of time before deadline, for once I'm going to cut all the fat out of this writer's copy" (the writer was notoriously flabby).

    I'm the guy approving this story in the backshop. This was in the old days before pagination when the type came out in long strips. The composing room guy cuts it into place and guess what: it's four inches too short -- by that time the editor had used up all his deadline time so it was impossible to find a filler -- so we had to use the previous, flabby version to get the section to the press on time.