Thinking about the job of editing
I’ve been thinking a bit about this, as I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone on editing the third edition of Primetime Adventures. There’s a part of me that wants to encapsulate in a relatively small amount of text what I do as an editor. Talking about grammar and organization and stuff is all well and good, but I think those are means, not at end. To that, I have the following two duties I hold myself to as an editor:
- My job as an editor is to make your text match your intent
- My job as an editor is to call bullshit on your intent (or what I perceive your intent to be) when warranted
Grammar, spelling, all that copy editing stuff is there to make the text communicate well. Organization is there to make the act of processing and understanding the text to flow as smoothly as possible (among other uses). But none of that matters if you’re communicating something other that your intent. And your intent doesn’t matter if it’s off, or if I misunderstand your intent because of your text.
I think about that from a whole-book level, from a chapter level, a spread or page level, section level, paragraph & sentence level. I think that makes me a slower editor than I could be, and I know I don’t have that luxury on a larger book to be that critical and detailed, but right now that’s the editor I like being. Revealing a writer’s intent is rewarding.
(This probably bleeds into game development, which is why Paul credited me as both editor & developer on A Penny For My Thoughts.)
Anyway, back to work. I just wanted to share some (likely disorganized) thoughts. Feel free to call bullshit…on my text or intent.