A Good Editor Is A Writer’s Best Friend

Dion M. Harris

 Grammar, spelling, clarity and punctuation are what I edit for. Chronology, a sub-group of clarity, and style also play an essential role in my fix-it work.

In a writer’s quest to think it up, get it down and finish it up, sometimes these fundamental elements of writing can fall by the wayside. This is where I – and my red pen – step in. My job is to massage, stroke and trim clients’ original documents into work ready for consumption by the masses. My job is to make you look awesome. Get your point across. And ultimately, get you in to whatever venue you seek access to.

Good editing, like good writing, takes time, effort and practice. As a service offering, it also costs more than good, original writing. As your editor, I enter your document to fix all it’s flaws. Much like a hairstylist does to the over-processed hair of the humiliated client or a general contractor does for the mucked-up labor of the unschooled/unlicensed amateur who gave you that cut-rate deal: It costs more to come in and clean up someone else’s mess than it costs to do the job properly the first time.

Here are some questions to consider before you hire an editor:

1. How much time did you spend writing?

If you spent 10 total hours writing a five-page paper, understand that it will take an editor at least one-quarter to one-third that time to read and understand your work and your writing style, overcome your writing’s shortcomings, then find and insert text that makes what you’ve presented radically better.

2. What is your level of writing skill?

If you’re writing at a ninth- or tenth-grade level, clearly it’s going to take longer to whip your work into shape than it does a professional writer with an erratic tendency to drop possessives. Or a graduate-level writer who simply needs his text polished up with a few stylistic flourishes. An editor has to get inside your head and finish off your thoughts. If you give me an assortment of sentence fragments to work with, I have more work to do.

3. Is this a rush project?

Jumping to the head of the priorities line will cost you. Be prepared to pay an expedited service fee of 15 percent or more for the luxury. And remember the saying: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency for me.”

4. Is there a maximum point at which I should stop working and/or advise on hours?

When you hire me to do a job, my job is to complete the job fastidiously, as is my way. I’m not thinking about your pocketbook issues. I want you to be completely and totally enamored with my work. Please let me know before we sign a contract if money is an issue. I should have already given you an idea of how much time your project will take and how much it will cost. Otherwise, I risk not getting paid and losing a client. I am not in business to do either of those things. I want you to be overwhelmingly happy with the finished project, employ my services repeatedly and even make referrals.

©2016,Dion M. Harris/Be Right Books

Published in: on March 24, 2016 at 12:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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