Old 10-06-2012, 11:39 PM   #1
dancing_to_gallifrey
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Question Hazing a new editor?

I've volunteered as an editor, and I've been contacted by a writer for help.
The first contact was the writer asking me to basically write the story. I replied that I would help, but it wasn't my job to write.
The writer then sends me a jumbled mess of smut obviously quickly typed with one hand (yes, I know it's literotica dot com, but this isn't erotic), and expects me to write the damn story.
It looks like it has been written by a randy 14 year old boy. Short, sloppy and shithouse.
Ok, so is someone taking the piss out of me here? Is this a New Editor Hazing Ritual? Did I pass the test then? ;-)
So, how to deal with the dreaded teenage boy syndrome? Report? Block? Ignore? All of the above?
I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings, but I need some serious eye and brain bleach after that little splodge.
Any advice from more experienced editors would be appreciated.
Thanks.
Pix.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:56 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dancing_to_gallifrey View Post
I've volunteered as an editor, and I've been contacted by a writer for help.
The first contact was the writer asking me to basically write the story. I replied that I would help, but it wasn't my job to write.
The writer then sends me a jumbled mess of smut obviously quickly typed with one hand (yes, I know it's literotica dot com, but this isn't erotic), and expects me to write the damn story.
It looks like it has been written by a randy 14 year old boy. Short, sloppy and shithouse.
Ok, so is someone taking the piss out of me here? Is this a New Editor Hazing Ritual? Did I pass the test then? ;-)
So, how to deal with the dreaded teenage boy syndrome? Report? Block? Ignore? All of the above?
I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings, but I need some serious eye and brain bleach after that little splodge.
Any advice from more experienced editors would be appreciated.
Thanks.
Pix.
And on the other end I hear from writers who submit stories who don't receive feedback for weeks on end.

Thanks for being an editor... hoping you qualify.

As for the writer, you are being abused as an editor. Move on, and thanks for ediiting.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:21 AM   #3
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I would politely reply that unfortunately the story needs a re-write (by the author) before you will be able to edit it. If it's bad, then your hands are tied. You are absolutely right that it is not an editor's job to write or re-write the whole story.
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:46 AM   #4
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I try to make it clear that there are limits to what I do. I will point out major technical errors (e.g. a person needing three hands to do what is described) but go no further than that. Other than that grammar and sentence/paragraph structure are my limits.

If the "story" is unreadable, for layout or grammatical reasons (e.g. all one paragraph with little or no punctuation) then I refer the author to the appropriate "How to ..."
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:05 PM   #5
dancing_to_gallifrey
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Thanks for your replies everyone.
The work was almost unreadable.
Spelling was bad, but that can be fixed. Punctuation was non-existent, which made it near impossible to follow. As for paragraphs.... no, there weren't any.
I've let the writer know I wasn't able to read it, and have forwarded them a link to the "how to..." section.
I still think it was a kid having a bit of a joke... which is funnier because I signed up to edit erotica, so how on earth could he think it would bother me?! I guess if it helped ease his discomfort, then good job done.
Cheers
Pix
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_to_gallifrey View Post
Thanks for your replies everyone.
The work was almost unreadable.
Spelling was bad, but that can be fixed.
OTOH, if they're errors that could've been caught by a spell-checker, it's not your job to fix them. "Editor" != "person to do all the boring bits".

Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_to_gallifrey View Post
I still think it was a kid having a bit of a joke... which is funnier because I signed up to edit erotica, so how on earth could he think it would bother me?! I guess if it helped ease his discomfort, then good job done.
Some people just really like to share their badly-written erotica with random passers-by. First story I ever posted here, I got a PM from somebody eager to tell me about "her" first lesbian experience. It was... not very convincing. Or good. Or punctuated.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:59 AM   #7
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too right

Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_to_gallifrey View Post
Thanks for your replies everyone.
The work was almost unreadable.
Spelling was bad, but that can be fixed. Punctuation was non-existent, which made it near impossible to follow. As for paragraphs.... no, there weren't any.
I've let the writer know I wasn't able to read it, and have forwarded them a link to the "how to..." section.
I still think it was a kid having a bit of a joke... which is funnier because I signed up to edit erotica, so how on earth could he think it would bother me?! I guess if it helped ease his discomfort, then good job done.
Cheers
Pix
I'm reading this as a writer who may in the near future need a new editor (in UK preferably female)

No an editor shouldn't be expected to re-write stories. I would certainly be most offended if one did. The fear that an editor might try to do so was what put me off using one for my first story "Secrets & Lies"
It seems to me that you did the right thing, though it might have been helpful if you told the writer what you thought was your job and what was his. I encourage my editor to give me their opinion of my story and I have actually scrapped some because my editor didn't like them which made me re-evaluate them.

Yes their are spelling checkers but in unskilled hands they can wreck a story by suggesting the wrong word and the writer simply clicking on change. They are also not foolproof the word "always" is in common use but most spell checkers reject it.

Perhaps it would be a good idea for editors to list what they will and will not do.

ie I will
correct grammar
highlight overused words
Highlight errors not change them
point out timeline errors
highlight redundant words
and passages.

I will not
invent characters
help develop plot lines
change the story
re-write a story that doesn't make sense

If I have to find a new editor, and I sincerely hope that I don't, these are things that would help me choose.

Last edited by DeYaKen : 10-08-2012 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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Whoever that was had a total disrespect for what you wanted to do... edit.

Anyone can jot down raunchy ideas. It doesn't make them a writer. Everyone has sexual thoughts and a lot of them can write those thoughts down. What you got was a grocery list.

Don't waste your time with people like that. There are lots of very good writers on lit that could use your input and will appreciate it. Keep posting that you're available. Don't spam. If you get no response when your post falls off the first page, bump it back to the top.

For those of us who write we appreciate the input. If we've ever edited, we also recognize the time commitment from the volunteer editors.

Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeYaKen View Post
Yes their are spelling checkers but in unskilled hands they can wreck a story by suggesting the wrong word and the writer simply clicking on change. They are also not foolproof the word "always" is in common use but most spell checkers reject it.
Spellcheckers are generally just their as a support, you're not supposed to rely on them.

While yes, a Spell checker may tell you to exchange one word for another, (Affect - Effect, Color - Colour) Some changing the word completely, I think the impression everybody here was giving off, (Misspelling the word You for instance, if you wrote yuo then a spell check becomes helpful).
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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And it won't help you if you are their/there challenged, as some posters apparently are.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:48 PM   #11
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Yes their are spelling checkers but in unskilled hands they can wreck a story by suggesting the wrong word and the writer simply clicking on change. They are also not foolproof the word "always" is in common use but most spell checkers reject it.
No, a spellchecker will not fix everything, especially in the hands of a lazy author who can't be bothered pulling out a dictionary to check which suggestion they should accept.

But there's a saying: "don't make 'perfect' the enemy of 'good'". If the author can reduce an editor's workload by using the spellchecker first, then that's a good thing, and "it doesn't catch everything" is not an excuse.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:25 AM   #12
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Spell check is item DO 7 in The Final List of “do”s and “don’t”s of using a Volunteer Editor sticky at the top of the page. A lot of people spent a lot of time and effort preparing this list (I only coordinated it) and many of us wish that new writers would read it.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:59 AM   #13
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O.K. folks I seem to have given the wrong impression here. I am not saying don't use spell checkers. I am saying the spell checker isn't always right and that a writer lacking in confidence can often use a suggested word because they think the spell checker knows best. The word suggested may change the meaning of the text whereas the original (misspelt word) looks like a mistake but is understandable.

I would expect an editor to highlight the "occasional" misspelt or misused word. I wouldn't expect them to plough through thousands of words making multple corrections.

I even use http://prowritingaid.com which highlights a lot of errors and gives me the chance to reduce the work my editor has to do, but it doesn't replace a human.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:46 AM   #14
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I guess it is my experience with English second language students, but I can plow through quite dense blocks of unreadable text. I may be an unusually patient person.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #15
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And it won't help you if you are their/there challenged, as some posters apparently are.
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Reminder: The Editor’s Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.

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