The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Predator Editors

photo by Colorfly Studio

         In truth, I like to run a line through something rather than erase it because once you erase it, it's gone. Forever.

             And when I went to flickr I was looking for a photo of a red pen,  but since I won't be able to find this (the above picture) again because I'm hormonally challenged forgetful, I slipped it in here.

        But a red pen would have been a better choice. Because this post is about gifted editors.

      During the summer, I have some flexibility to my schedule, and I'm taking advantage of it; I've joined a group of writers who meet every Tuesday morning for "Coffee and Critique." We bring things to share, and get suggestions on how to improve the pieces.

      Everybody at this table has good eyes and ears. Each one has their own little niche when it comes to editing. But yesterday, I sat next to one of the writers with the fastest pen in the west. And not only is she fast, she's dead-on when it comes to her aim.  

       As soon as I started reading my short story, I could see her out of the corner of my eye. Circling. Crossing out. Drawing arrows and writing comments.

     And I loved it. Because that's what I need help with. I won't say I was ever a brilliant writer, but between August and May, I write for nine-year olds. So I need loads of help discerning what words can be left out, what is cliche, where I'm getting off track.

     So, thanks for being a predator-editor. Thanks for circling around my weak verbs and adjectives. Thanks for attacking my writing with a keen eye.

     Thanks, Alice. (And Donna and Doyle and Bea and Becky and Bill and Marcia and Lou.)



  1. Loved this! And you are so right about our critique group. I've heard horror stories of some groups where self-proclaimed-experts just rip others' writings apart. Our group really IS diverse and even when someone has what might be thought of as a negative comment or suggestion, it's done in a positive, "nice" way! I'm so glad you can be with us during the summer! And you're also "right on" about Alice and her red pen! She is amazing!! I don't know how she can read, think, change, suggest, do, etc...all at the same time! Yay for our C&C group!! OH, and thanks for the "thanks"!

  2. I met with someone today who knows Alice and told me the very same thing about her wonderful editing ability and that red ink.

  3. Oh, yes, indeed! God bless honest and talented critique partners! I cringe to see some of my bloops, but I'm always grateful to the wonderful writer/editor/friend who points them out.

  4. Sounds like my kind of group. You'll all so lucky!

  5. Actually, I don't know if Alice ever uses red ink, but I would never be offended or scarred by red ink. (The different color would be easier for my old eyes to see.)

    And I also think it's a bunch of hooey that red ink tears down kids' self-esteem. It all depends on what is written with that red ink. And what kind of rapport exists between the writer and the critic...

    Does Alice travel all over the St. Louis and St. Charles counties, like a shark (sleeping as she's moving), sharing her gift and expertise with the maximum number of writers? Curious minds want to know...

  6. I would love just such a person...



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