I’m a busy chick. I’m senior intern at a publishing company and an English tutor. I work primarily with students at the Davis county school district, but occasionally, I get those who hire me for end of the semester help. I had one guy in particular I remember. He’s a 23 year-old college student. He usually requests help from another tutor, so I was surprised to see him on my check –in sheet. He said “I know I write like I’m still in the seventh grade. It’s bad.”
I told him what I tell all my clients. A draft is just a draft. A draft is going to look and be terrible because it’s just a draft. That’s why we go over our work again, to get it ready for submission. The draft is there so we can get everything on paper.
We started our session with this pep talk and moved on. I always ask questions first, before I read anything to help the writer get a sense of where they’d like their paper to go. I asked him what the prompt or assignment was, how he stood on the subject and what direction he’d like to go in. I asked about any weaknesses in his writing he felt needed addressing, as well as any strengths he’d like to use more of. After that, we went over the paper, fixing grammar issues, changing the voice a bit, and re-arranging his paragraphs. This experience reminded me that without writers, editors have nothing to edit.
Editing Tip of the Week- Found this gem on my Facebook page. This is why I’m not on twitter. I’d lose my mind. I’m sure the poor thing meant "cologne".