Monday, October 01, 2007


I think I shall compose a humorous poem detailing how much I hate editors or rather, the entire process of editing.

See, there are two kinds of editing. There is editing to get something down to a certain printable length and that makes sense to me and while I will grumble, I know that is necessary. But then there is editing that happens for no reason, like someone who changes all my "fors" to "becauses" just for the heck of it.

And then there is editing which really ticks me off because that happens when someone who has nothing to do with English is editing my paper. Would it make sense to you for a Chemistry major to edit English papers? No? Good, because it doesn't make sense to me either. I mean, there is the chance that the Chemistry major is really fabulous at English; of course that is sometimes the case, but not always.

Of course the editor thinks she is beautifying my work. And then again, since I edit other people's work, I think I'm beautifying theirs. So we all mean well in the end, I suppose.

But I feel like there are some people who edit things just for the sake of it because there can't possibly be an article that doesn't need to be corrected. That annoys me because it reminds me of teachers who won't hand out As because it's "impossible" to truly earn an A. One of the most awesome things about my twelfth grade English teacher is she didn't go in for any of this crap. I'd often hand her rough drafts and final drafts that were exactly the same and she didn't "take off" because I hadn't "fixed" things. The point was the quality, not whether there had been a checklist of edits made. This meant I took her opinion more seriously when she told me I actually did need to fix things.

I don't edit people's work just for the sake of it; I'm quite happy to let it stand and not to touch it if I feel that it's been written well- and I've done that many times. So why do some people labor under the delusion that everything in the world must be editable because there's no such thing as the perfect paper, no such thing as an A student, no such thing as doing well on the first try?

This once got to the point where I would fake mistakes in my rough drafts (in sixth grade, I think it was) in order to "fix" them and therefore do well.

Anyway, I respect people who edit my work and make logical comments but it kills me when we've got Chemistry people whose forte is Chemistry editing English papers! Why God, why?


jackie said...

Hey--I'm sure that there are also English people who you'd never want going near one of your papers or articles.

A person's major doesn't say very much about a person's ability to edit. That Chemistry major might be really, really talented with English but simply needs Chemistry for parnasa purposes, you know?

SJ said...

I am sorry to hear about your plight. That is unfortunate indeed. I can certainly imagine the utter frustration, and offer my deepest sympathies.

Scraps said...

I can relate. I also used to fake mistakes so I could "correct" them for the second draft. And my mother once had to call my sister's English teacher to tell her that a word my sister used in an essay indeed was a real word, even though the English teacher had never heard of it.

I will add my deepest sympathies to sj's.

Anonymous said...

One aspect of editing that you should be more open to and try to incorporate into your writing is the shortening of your writing.

Many of your posts have good ideas, and are well written, but just go on for too long. Too much redundancy and too many extraneous ideas.

Chana said...

last anonymous,

Oh, do I know it! Happily, since this is a blog, I needn't edit myself. If I did, I'd never get anything written at all!

but thank you for your kind day I will learn to be concise...maybe