[The Story] Editing With Respect

“By the way, in the interest of time, I am using terse language in my comments, which may come across as patronizing. Totally not my intent.[1]” For two years now, I’ve silently written over 300,000 words, developing the writing/editing skills to properly write “The Story.” In the past month, I’ve hit upon my first major round of success in writing for an audience outside of myself, so thought I’d tie that into John and Trishna’s stories.

Spoilers?: Minor (characters fielding criticisms)

Constructive criticism is a weird thing.

Editors like the one featured in the introductory quote shouldn’t feel a need to preface polite platitudes before jumping right in to edit. It helps with context, but really, we writers are perhaps the most critiqued groups of creatives in any medium – if I may assert that broad assumption. Everyone communicates so everyone can write… theoretically. Not everyone draws or programs. Writing has a low barrier of entry. If I can comment on my years of writing consistently, I’m not impressed with every writer I meet now, in part because I know that not everyone is impressed with my writing.

There are still many layers of callouses to grow.

As I’m writing this, one of my pieces is in the editing bay for a large company. Two writers that have been redlining a 600-word essay of mine for over one hour. That’s an intimidating proposition to think about. I’m equally excited and fretful about reading over the changes. Up until now, frankly, I’ve struggled with balancing writing, editing, and advertising. I’ve always operated under the assumption that once I get to become a sufficiently not-terrible writer, the advertising piece will come naturally. As it has. It’s like investing all your videogame level-up points into one skill versus spreading them out.

Still, it feels weird to be at this point.

Today, I also met an editor that was on the opposite end of this spectrum of professional editing. It’s of no fault of this editor, so I won’t name names. While there was no preamble of editing rapport built, the editing feedback was contradictory and verbose. We don’t have to take all criticism to heart and this was one example of that.

Returning to John and Trishna: they aren’t overly critical of each other.

When they begin chatting over in-universe instant messenger Messe, if Trishna or John ask for feedback, they’ll do so, but always preamble any criticism with loving politeness. I doubt they will ever intentionally say anything to upset each other – but unintentionally? I’m not sure there’s a person alive that hasn’t hurt someone’s feelings by mistake. There won’t be any major plot points where Trishna hurts John’s feelings over some creative endeavor or vice versa, but a minor plot point is certainly possible. Maybe some school paper, creative work, or more broadly, personality quirk?

We all critique each other, and sometimes, we aren’t the nicest.

Should editors or critics be nice?

For John and Trishna, when they critique, it’ll be with respect.

Endtable:
Quotes: [1] A fellow Seattle Indies volunteer.
Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium and my writing experiences.
Inspirations: I’m not sure how this turned out as an experiment, blending some recent events with some surface-level character explorations. I’m not sure how well shoehorning in “The Story” did for the essay, but it was a useful way to make sure it wasn’t just about myself.
Related: Essays building “The Story.”
Picture: Generic picture to save time.
Written On: November 13th [1 hour]
Last Edited: After I wrote this preliminarily, I went back through and did a thorough edit, in about 10 minutes to condense verbiage.
My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)