The Quality of Writing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, where do I start?

I’m Erin, an editorial intern at Busybird Publishing and I’m writing my first blog. Ever.

Why did I make the decision to become an editor in the first place? Writing and editing go hand in hand and without an editor to circle, analyse and fix up a piece of written work it may never be published or be deemed worth publishing.

The importance of writers editing their own work became evident when I was part of the exciting responsibility of choosing which [untitled] short story submissions would make the shortlist for this year’s short story competition.

Under the direction of Les, we were told that the submission (for the competition) had to be worthy of going to print as is. This relies heavily on the writer performing his or her additional role as an editor in bringing their work up to an acceptable standard of publication, which can present critical challenges for the writer and exemplifies the crucial importance of an editor’s role in the publishing process.

Writers bear a huge burden in that they are expected to be able to both write and edit competently, which is unfair when a competition such as the [untitled] short story competition is meant to expose and showcase writing talent rather than how correctly they place full stops and commas in a story. I can see why our selection process had to be cut so finely due to the enormous wealth of talented writers and how many submissions there were. But not every writer is an editor, or wants to be. This is where I am very sympathetic towards upcoming writers, as it must make their chances of ever getting read or published feel like a futile pursuit.

I understand that life is not fair and the stories are written for the purposes of competition, which means that a cutthroat selection process must be applied so that the best short story wins. I became an editor so that I would have the opportunity to read through and edit works to make them ready for publication and the opportunity to read through these short stories has been stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable.

It made me both question my position as an editor and reaffirm my role and how important editors are in working with writers, rather than against them, in editing their work to a point where they can be published and read by an audience which will appreciate their talent and the subject matter they choose to write on. Editors relish the opportunity to help written work achieve its full potential, whether they are working within a publishing house or operating on a freelance basis.

Unfortunately, short stories (for the competition) are judged not only by the quality of their writing but how well that writing is coupled with a brilliant edit. If young writers today want to have any chance of succeeding in the fiercely competitive world of publishing they must be prepared to write, rewrite and proofread their work to a standard where the work can be read clearly and easily, or even go the extra mile and hire an editor to edit their work first before anyone else reads it.

Erin Dite

One response to “The Quality of Writing

  1. All Power to You! I’m currently re-re-re-editing my first novel and I have to say, writing it was MUCH easier.
    Rules about punctuation and what the heck is an En Dash???
    I always thought my English was good, but now my grammatical nous has had to take on a huge learning curve. (My old teacher would be SO proud).
    So the fact that you actually LIKE doing this stuff – what can I say?
    Well done! Keep going! Do Mine!

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