Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An Editor's Rant

Fie on you evil sentences! Your conjugations defy me. Your nouns slip like water through my fingers. Your pronouns stand down a distant corridor, separated from their wards, never to be joined again. Because of you, my eyeballs are both pasted to the center of my face, my neck muscles wound like angry snakes poised to attack at the base of my skull, and my mood is dark...ever so dark on your behalf.

Learn to write please. LEARN TO WRITE, rather than paying someone else to massage it into beauty. Because I will be honest with you--just as I gave up being in the field of beauty-care because I couldn't care less about how perfect anyone's eyebrows or bikini line were, I care not for your tepid, broken, humdrum little excuses for sentences, and nothing I do will save them. They will always be crooked and ugly. They are unnatural things, never meant to be. Theirs is is a half-life at best, a bedraggled, painful, half-life where they will be teased and stared at and ridiculed, and they can't be saved. Do you hear me? They CAN'T be saved.

You will never know how painful it has been.

Don't worry--it isn't you. You would never think to come here.



At 8:21 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh how I bathe in the glory of your words, dear Jordan.

Almost daily I think of writing a similar post that says:

I am not your maid. Learn how to write and I will polish your prose. But when you can't construct a sentence, it makes me feel like I'm wiping your ass for you.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Yes, um, just don't point out the punctuation and syntax errors in that post, kay?

Glad you share my misery. Er, that came out wrong.


At 9:03 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I really think that some people think that all editing is the same. I mostly do content editing, which means I prefer if someone runs spell check and fixed some of their lousy sentences first. But I fear this is in vain.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Luke said...

Interesting blog/rant. ;-)

I do think there is a balance to be struck between reading cleanly pressed prose which comes out tepid, against raw jagged words without proper grammar nor precise punctuation, but meaningful or heartfelt.

There is something about reading a rush of words which express emotion, thoughts or even interesting stories - as long as it is worth the time to unravel punctuation or mistakes in grammar.

Creative outlets like blogs allow unknown "writers" to learn their craft within the anonymity of the web; where blogs have global reach, persistence of content, but no dominion. Here, words are ethereal but live on in cyberspace; which encourages even the less academic to have their say.
Only by studying their peers will they improve their skills, if they so choose.


At 7:44 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Luke, in theory, as a reader, I can agree with some of what you said...that imperfect writing can still evoke powerful emotions and truths. But as an editor who handles as many as five manuscripts a month at worst (novels mainly, but some memoirs), I lose sympathy for those who are "messy but beautiful" if you catch my drift.



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