Universal Editing

I read a blog today by a woman who just had her work edited. She was discouraged, felt like she was a horrible writer, and questioned whether to continue writing or not. This woman has a fantastic blog that I absolutely love reading, here on wordpress, called Intergalactic Writing Inc. This is a drawback of the internet because I wish I could reach out and give her a hug. What she experienced is not what editing is about.

She said she assumed some parts were good because there were no comments. There were only comments where things were ‘bad’. Oh, my blood pressure is rising. It is equally important to have the things that work (‘good’) pointed out, too. A good editor comments on what works, and explains why. We writers learn as much from those comments as we do from having problems pointed out. Second, an edit should never focus on negatives. Even when something doesn’t work, it doesn’t deserve negatives, it deserves suggestions, support, and work between the editor and the writer.

I always say a good edit leaves a writer enthusiastic and excited to jump back in and work. If I’ve been edited and the result leaves me discouraged or feeling like a failure as a writer, I feel that’s actually a failure of the partnership between the editor and the writer. Nothing infuriates me more than seeing a writer give up because of a negative edit. Especially when, more than likely, the negative edit is the opinion of only one person.

Edits should be respectful, positive, educational, and productive. They should not kill the love of words, the love of the writing craft, or the spirit of the writer. I’ve had my work edited by professional editors, where I paid a lot and writing friends where I paid nothing. Each and every one has taught me something. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t end up with an editor like this person did. If so, I’m not sure I’d be where I am on my writing path.

Okay, I’ll climb down from the box now before this turns into a rant. The point is well taken I’m sure. So what kind of editing results have you had? Have you been left raw and bleeding or uplifted and excited to be a writer?