Nov 25, 2008

The Writer-Editor relationship

Poor editors are notorious for being hopelessly vague when critiquing writers. They want something different, but what exactly? Well, they can't quite say or don't quite know.

This drives writers crazy.

The following video of of this BBC sketch comedy That Mitchell and Webb Look does a pretty good job of capturing what it's like.

Yes, in this sketch they're talking fiction, but this can happen just as often with nonfiction writing. For example, I've had an editor say something like this... we need a really great anecdote here, you know, something shows how the main character feels about his mother or something like that, but not necessarily that. And even though the story may have nothing to do with the character's mother, you, the writer, go back and observe your main subject patiently or even ask leading questions, searching in vain for something "like that but not necessarily that."


Anonymous said...

I love it. I could not agree more with this depiction of the nonsense editors say sometime. So funny

Anonymous said...

This is so right on! Hilariously true.

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