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Old 06-25-2007, 11:48 AM   #1
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The Final List of “do”s and “don’t”s of using a Volunteer Editor

Here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen, fresh from our own Snooper's nimble fingers; The Final List of "do"s and "don't"s of using a Volunteer Editor.

If you have any other suggestions; please send them directly to Snooper so he can vet them, put them in form (if acceptable) and he'll send them to me to post.

So, without further ado, here they are:



0. When first contacting a VE, DO explain what you want from the editing process. Some authors welcome ideas for plot extensions, others only wish orthographic and grammatical advice. Some authors need an urgent response, others prefer a thorough edit.

1. When contacting a VE, DO respect their religious beliefs. If an editor says that as a Jedi Knight they are not allowed to sent or receive email on Tuesdays or on Thursday afternoons, respect that. The VE will not expect you to know that, but will tell you if it matters.

2. When first contacting a VE, DO make it clear whether you are using more than one VE. Most VEs don’t mind you using more than one, but it is nice to know when the VE reads the posted version that more than one hand has shaped the changes.

3. When sending an editing request to a VE, DO include your Literotica ID and a valid e-mail address that the VE can reach you at. If the e-mail address for your profile is fake, then the VE cannot reply to you.

4. Literotica is an international community. The VE you choose may speak only English. DO tell your chosen VE in your initial contact if English isn’t your first language. The editing process could be painful for you both if the VE isn’t appropriately prepared before making recommendations to you for your story in order to make the story/concept understandable to the English-speaking Literotica public. If you’re both polyglot, use that to your mutual advantage.

5. If you are waiting for a VE to reply to your request, DO check your junk/spam e-mail folders, the VE’s reply may have been filtered.

6. Please, if you are doing a story that has a “famous” background to it, i.e. SG-1 or some other story, DO ask if the VE is familiar with the background. It saves a lot of confusion on the editor’s behalf. Do not send such stories to a VE who detests plagiarism.

7. The very last moment before sending something to a VE, DO run a spell check. The editor is a volunteer and does not want to spend precious time finding the words you cannot speel. The MSWord grammar checker seems to be dedicated to reducing everything to the intellectual level of a fairly bright seven year old or, to put it another way, to what a genius computer programmer would understand.

8. When a VE gets your story, it’s a cold read. DO think of the VE as “Joe Public”; if something doesn’t make sense to the VE, it most likely won’t make sense to the general reading public either. The VE does not have the same intense feelings any author does about their “baby”. By the same token, after receiving back the edited story, no justification to the VE is needed about why the character(s) said or did what they did if the VE recommends a change to a scene the author is most proud of and doesn’t want to change.

9. When you receive your edited version, DO acknowledge its receipt. Email is still unreliable from time to time.

10. When you have looked through your edited version, DO feel free to ask about any comments you may not understand.

11. When you have looked through your edited version, if you think the VE has made a valid point about some facet of your writing, DO try to learn from it, and DO try to avoid making the same mistake again … and again … and again.

12. If you have contacted more than one VE to do an edit, DO have the courtesy to contact them and let them know which changes you intend to use.

13. When submitting your story DO consider acknowledging your editor(s). Please check first whether the VE requests or refuses acknowledgement.

14. When the story is posted DO send the link to the VE so (s)he can send feedback or vote.


0. Remember always that the VE is just that, a volunteer. DO NOT abuse the generosity of your VE. If you want to know what you are getting for free in, one US dollar buys you professional editing of about 50 words, one Euro buys about 65 words, and one Pound sterling buys about 100 words. One Literotica page is about 3,750 words, so that would cost about $75, or €57.50 or £37.50 at mid-2007 prices.

1. DO NOT regard editorial comments, suggestions, or criticisms as personal attacks, or as proof that you’re a literary no-hoper and a worthless excuse for a human being. That’s a slight overreaction to a notation about comma confusion.

2. When you ask your VE to do an edit, and (s)he informs you that there are two stories in queue ahead of yours, DO NOT start PMing or emailing the next day to ask when your story will be ready.

3. DO NOT make mutually exclusive demands, the most common of which are: “Fix everything that’s wrong with this story but don’t change anything” and “Show me how to make the story longer without adding plot or characterization or dialogue or detail or that kind of junk.”

4. DO NOT expect the VE to magically alter Literotica’s chiselled-in-stone policies simply because you disagree with them. The VE has NO influence with the owners of Literotica. If you absolutely must write about an eight year old Clampett granddaughter screwing a Clydesdale, find another site to post your masterpiece. It’s not going to get off the runway here, regardless of how much you whine at a VE.

5. DO NOT forget that although most VEs will (however unhappily) double as de facto English teachers and explain the uses of semicolons, few VEs have a burning desire to spend hours debating the origins, history, and logic (or lack thereof) of the rules of grammar. We all know that punctuation “laws” are often arbitrary and sometimes inconsistent, and that thinking about them may cause flashbacks to the endless hours of boredom you experienced while you were held captive in your early years at school. We can’t change any of that. Your only realistic options are learning to peacefully coexist with some widely accepted standard, or else breaking as many of the rules as you wish and then dealing with multi-page rants from the champions of the “up with which I shall not put” school of English usage.

6. DO NOT rip off another writer’s work and then expect a VE to help you alter it just enough to disguise your plagiarism.

7. Please, if you are doing a story that has a “famous” background to it, i.e. SG-1 or some other story, do ask if the VE is familiar with the background. It saves a lot of confusion on the editor’s behalf. DO NOT send such stories to a VE who detests plagiarism.

8. You’ve received your story from the VE, freshly edited. If you chose to post an earlier version, consider NOT contacting the same editor for future stories. VEs may have long memories and may not have nice things to say after seeing their time and efforts thrown out if/when they see the story posted on Lit, and never believe they do not check.

NB: these lists are in UK English.
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