Thursday, March 22, 2007

Edit.

I'm getting sent a lot of writing for my job, everything from travel stories to interviews with hack comedians who have somehow found fame by making lame as fuck political asides and jokes on mainstream TV. Hey, that John Howard looks like Mr Sheen. Haha. Hey, if he loves America so much, why doesn't he marry it? Hahaha. Hey, I wonder if the end of this shotgun tastes like cock, I'll just put it in my mouth and see. ChckchckBANG.

*applause*

I've become an editor. Somehow. Which is weird because I'm anti-adjective and though I love my punctuation I'm also happy to let it go for a little while when I'm writing and just let the sentences stumble drunkenly on until they slam into a full stop somewhere down the line. It's also weird because I'm a book whore, a cheap slut who'll invite them all to bed with me at the same time, letting my fingers caress one while my eyes drip syrup and lust across the curves of the other, spread wide in front of me so I can trace my finger slowly down the spine.

But I'm starting to wonder about the ethics of editing. I mean, I'm finding myself rewriting people's articles, sentence by sentence. Changing the voice of a piece because I can't stand the way the sentences are structured. I'm basically tagging my name across the page, morphing their words into mine, trying to get them to understand the beauty of short, sharp and concise. Trying to turn amateur journalists into writers. Like I'm a fucking writer.

What's the etiquette? When I've asked them to write a piece and they do and I'm sitting in front of something that dances gaily around the core of the matter, and does everything in its power to avoid being passionate about the subject. I send it back to them and I can't explain HOW to make it better, I just wish they'd SEE what it was they needed. It's not even the writing, the writing I can fix, the writing I can use, but where's the passion, the heat, the intensity, the love? I think it's like music. I'd rather watch a band who couldn't play for shit, play like they fucking MEANT IT, play like it was the end of the world, than watch a group of technically brilliant players, going through the motions.

End.

4 comments:

  1. oh my god this wee post is so good.

    firstly there's this:

    I'm anti-adjective and though I love my punctuation I'm also happy to let it go for a little while when I'm writing and just let the sentences stumble drunkenly on until they slam into a full stop somewhere down the line. It's also weird because I'm a book whore, a cheap slut who'll invite them all to bed with me at the same time, letting my fingers caress one while my eyes drip syrup and lust across the curves of the other, spread wide in front of me so I can trace my finger slowly down the spine.

    I'M ANTI-ADJECTIVE TOO. but there's nothing more beautiful and exciting than a really well-placed adjective, short usually, that punches into a sentence just right.

    i am a grammar nut, a punctuation freak, but i, too, can let it all go in this world, and let the sentences just flow. who really cares. as long as you understand me, right?

    ps did you read the age today. did you see the misplaced comma that made two dogs into three?

    i'm a book slut too - it's an obsession, and addiction. i am totally against borrowing from libraries. what if i love the book? then i need to have it. then i need to go and buy it. may as well just buy it anyway. if i don't like it, it can sit in my bookcase; for my children are many and they are all loved.

    then there are the questions re editing. writers are precious about what they write. when an editor get their hands on it, things do change. but i guess the more experienced writers will also be able to put on the editor hat, and see how things can be improved.

    i've done some editing work freelance, and i ALWAYS found it much easier to do the tidying up of someone else's writing, than the big-picture editing. it's fucking hard to do.

    as to the end bit, the bit about no passion - i just can't understand how people can write for a living, ie get paid to do it, and not love writing. even if it's a piece on public toilets, or types of mushrooms, or how houses on corner blocks tend to get more rubbish blown into their driveways than other houses, all these subjects demand passion and excitement. in fact, sometimes they are even more exciting than the topics that typically get people heated - ie sex, art, politics, religion etc.

    sorry to not manage a witty, brief response. happy day to you.

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  2. see i fucking knew i'd scare off commenters.

    i take it all back and this is my new comment:

    fuck, yeah.

    [makes elaborate kind of demon sign with fingers and slouches]

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  3. Hey, you can't take it all back, I really enjoyed reading a comment that was longer than the post!

    Also, I'm trying to work out what the Hell the elaborate demon finger sign is...fuck yeaaaah.

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