We All Need an Editor

editor image

I remember one playmate, a girl two years older than me, being so delighted with herself for learning to barrel-roll on the huge cardboard tube that my dad had brought home from the warehouse where he worked. She jumped up and down and crowed, “I done it! I done it!” Five year-old me unhesitatingly corrected her, “I did it!”

When my daughter was in elementary school, (in an excellent public school system, by the way) students used invented spelling and grammar until fourth grade, presumably to allow them the freedom to express themselves without worrying about making mistakes.

Okay, this drove me nuts. Seriously nuts. I hated walking down the hall at school and seeing the primary grades’ short essays taped up on the walls, rife with misspellings and gobbled-gook so severe you couldn’t begin to guess what they meant.  Then, magically, in fourth grade, the children were supposed to be responsible for correct spelling and grammar. Huh?

Their, they’re and there had heretofore been used interchangeably. Same with your and you’re. Never mind about apostrophes! Misused apostrophes make me crazy, and it was a sign in the girls’ restroom that led me to create my second, secret identity…as a member of the GES. The Grammar Enforcement Squad.

I’d been volunteering at school and stopped in to use the restroom. There was a hand-drawn sign, made by a fourth-grade student that said “Wash Your Hand’s.”

Holy crap, I thought to myself. Seriously? Why didn’t her teacher tell her the difference between plural and possessive? That child needs an editor.

I stopped off to see my daughter’s teacher, and politely pointed out that the sign in the restroom was incorrect, and maybe they’d want to use a little Wite-Out on it so the kids who read it wouldn’t be confused.

The teacher sighed. “I know who that girl’s teacher is. We’ve been working with her [the teacher] but she’s not always consistent.”

Holy crap.

Long story short, they put Wite-Out on the laminated poster, and the young artist, who apparently had not been informed of her error, thought someone had defaced her work and promptly scratched off the Wite-Out with her fingernail.

Holy crap.

We all need an editor from time to time. It’s not something we outgrow. One very intelligent and literate adult I know had to be convinced that it was “together” not “togather”. I married him anyway.

Another acquaintance, also a writer, regularly puts out blog posts that say she’s “suppose to” or “use to”. Where did those d’s disappear to? Gah.

We split our infinitives and misplace our modifiers. We can’t get it through our heads that we only use the superlative “my oldest son” when there are more than two sons in the picture.

Writers often tell ourselves, hey, we’re artists. We can’t be bothered with the mundane when we’re crafting an exciting story. But it matters.

That’s why we all need an editor from time to time.

As the founding member of the GES, I embrace my own grammarly shortcomings and put my trust in my editor.

Susan is awesome. She makes me correct my mistakes. She’s like a human thesaurus when I just can’t come up with the right word. She reels me in when I fall in love with the sound of my own voice and a scene starts to drag.  I consider her an objective critic and I take her opinion seriously.

This morning, she referred a prospective client to me for an endorsement.

Gladly!

My editor has made me a better writer.  End of story.

Check her out! Susan Hughes at http://myindependenteditor.com

 

 

Share Button
2 Comments
  1. You are right. Susan is awesome and one of my closest friends. She is a true blessing to everyone she meets; she is accepting of all and tries to understand and help anyone she can, regardless of whether they are a client or not. It’s in her nature to to give her all to all. I don’t know what I would do without her to lean on! She truly is objective, witty, and very intelligent.

    So proud to call her my friend!

Leave a Reply

Resist: Book Two of the Resistance Series won a Silver Medal in the 2016 International Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Resist was named Best YA Fiction 2016 by the Texas Association of Authors Book Awards