• Mark Meier

Editors

I’ve heard so many people question the value of editors. Don’t. One of my first stories accepted to an anthology was obviously good enough to be accepted, but a skilled editor can punch things up to another whole level. I asked if those editors (I don’t know their names) freelanced. Sorry, but they don’t. In my opinion, they’re worth every cent. That doesn’t mean I’ve used an editor on every story since. They do cost money, and if you can’t afford to hire one, then that option is off the table. That doesn’t mean I question their value. Looking at what happened to my story was an education. After signing the contract, the editors sent me a list of things to change. Most of them I agreed with, though there were a few details I questioned. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to change those, just that I suggested why they should remain. For the most part they agreed. And my story was improved. There are times, though, when an author makes it “big,” and they feel like they don’t need an editor. That was a mistake for one big-time author I’ve read. In my opinion. There was a passage where this author detailed the minute process of setting up a nuclear weapon by a terrorist organization. Step by painful step, every detail. At one point the details included cutting a wire, and the author spent more than a page of space on a wisp of radioactive vapor escaping up a chimney. I read on, expecting a satellite would detect it (which I wouldn’t have believed), but alas, it never happened. More than a page of wasted words that had no bearing on the story. It could have been deleted and the story would not have suffered in the least. The massive tome could have been cut (in my estimate) by about a third and been improved greatly. But this author was Big Enough there was no need for an editor. In a way, that estimate was probably correct. The name was enough to get people to buy the book. The story, however, suffered. It made me question if I should invest my time and money reading any more of that author’s work. Do it long enough and you’ll lose readership.

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