One Editor’s Opinion #2: Edit As You Write

Something else that comes to mind as I’m editing ( I mean truly editing) a portion of the the last story I accepted for my Local Heroes anthology, is that some writers do not write with the reader in mind at all. They just write the story however it comes out of them with little regard for how that might read to the outside reader. That’s what I consider casual writing, writing that the writer has done merely for himself. It’s not what I call “performance writing” where a writer is writing with a would-be audience in mind. Again, that points to what I’ve said earlier about being a deliberate storyteller. If you’re writing merely to amuse yourself, then why submit to an editor in an attempt to get published?

The story I’m editing at the moment is marred by the writer’s disregard for the reader. Many sentences meander and put-off the reader with a plethora of extraneous words and details that get in the way of what the reader is truly after. When there’s bloat like that it just dulls the story and undermines its overall impact. I’ve accepted the submission because the story is good and as an editor I know I can edit it down a bit to get directly at its core essence and increase the intensity, clarity and overall effect.

What am I getting at here? It’s easy to simply say “Well, the writer should have spent a great deal of time editing his own story prior to submitting it to an editor”. Fair enough. But my point in all of this is: why not take the care…why not take that exacting, precise approach to the story during the actual writing? Why wait until the end when you have to go through 4000 words in totality, when you can simply take care of things on the front end of the process (during initial draft) and make it easier on yourself as the writer and by extension and ultimately for the reader?

Just the musings of a curious and very opinionated editor.



  1. Reblogged this on RUCKERPEDIA and commented:
    This was written and posted four years ago today, back in my editing days. Four years later I stand by this for the most part.


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