3 thoughts on “Jed, sweetheart, please…”

  1. More seriously, the funny thing is that in the early days of the magazine, I would suggest an alternative as an example without a disclaimer, and authors reacted badly.

    Say the author had written “Joe jumbrgld the strgld.”

    And I would say “I think there may be a mistake in that sentence. Did you mean, maybe, something like ‘Joe jumped the stream’?”

    And the author would respond: “No.” And move on to my next comment.

    So I started adding a swarm of disclaimers every time I mentioned a specific phrasing. “Did you mean, maybe, something like ‘Joe jumped the stream’? I mean, it doesn’t have to be exactly that, of course, but maybe something vaguely along those lines? Something like that?”

    And authors actually react a whole lot better to the disclaimer version. Without the disclaimers, a lot of writers (even very good writers) don’t seem to be capable of recognizing a specific suggestion as being an example of a type of thing; they tend to assume that the only possible two choices are the way they wrote it and the way I wrote it, so if they don’t like my exact phrasing, then it must remain exactly as they wrote it. But with the disclaimers, they’re willing to come up with alternatives that are better than either the original or my version.

    Anyway. I realize that the video (which I thought was very funny — thanks for the link!) is actually parodying a different bit of editorial feedback, and I’ve done that one too — “Maybe you could consider changing this to ‘Joe ankled breakingly the road’? I mean, definitely don’t use that specific phrase, that’s really clunky, but something like that?” But I say that less often than the above thing, and the sketch reminded me of both.

    So, alas, I really do edit writers like that. Kind of. 🙂

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