Question for the Editors & Betas out there

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minibit, Jul 29, 2016.

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  1. Do you edit your friends work? Do you co-author? Just copy-editing / spell-checking or more intensive stuff?

    I'm always conflicted when I tell friends that I want to be an editor and that I practice editing and beta-editing in my spare time, because EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG IS WRITING SOMETHING OR OTHER and wants a free editor :/

    On one hand, I'm uncomfortable editing for friends. It's not like I'm mean or harsh with my comments when someone sends me something to review or copy-edit, but it can be hard to hear even professionally worded criticism, and I don't want my friends to think of me as a source of 'what you did wrong' (even though I'm always careful to comment on the parts that I liked, as well!)

    On the other hand, since I'm a writer, too, I know how tough it can be to find a reliable editor; is it fair to turn away my friends from that service on the basis that we have a personal relationship? People often promise that they can separate Mini the friend from Mini the editor, but it can be difficult to do that in practice.

    So what about you guys, those of you who do editorial (sometimes called 'beta') work? Do you do this for your friends? To what degree, and why?

    Right now my stance is that I don't mind to copy-edit (go over lower-order concerns like grammar and spelling) for friends, but more intense, developmental editing I will refer them to someone else whom I trust to do a good job
  2. I'll admit that I'm not very good at doing high-level editing for content and story since it's more opinion-based and I always feel like I'm being too harsh... But hey, I'm fantastic at editing for grammar and spelling! owo; I have a friend who's trying to write a book and at the very least I can promise him a consistent reader to offer support when he loses motivation, so there's that.
  3. I think it's better to edit your friends writing and tell them what they did wrong grammatically and story wise, I mean at least you'll consider their feelings more than a stranger, right? I use to edit my friends writing a lot, and there were so many plot holes in her writing I would have died of embarrassment if she ever submitted it for a competition. Degree wise I only edited what they wanted me to, want me to fix your grammar and leave the story alone? No problem. Just want me to focus on the story? Can do.
  4. I dunno if I'd ask my friends to seriously edit for me. It's great if they read it and give me their opinions and catch the grammar errors, but I'd need a professional editor to do the heavy duty work. I'd be fine if my friends were all harsh and critical on me, but I can't be sure if they would. I mean, in high school when we edited each other's essays, my friends would hand my paper back with a giant smiley and say "OHMYGOSHITWASGREAT". And my papers aren't that good. So y'know.

    But I have a friend whose mom is opening her own publishing company, and I'd trust her. Just not a direct friend.
  5. Even if the direct friend was in the process of becoming a professional?
  6. Even if. I have very few friends I would trust to be wholeheartedly and brutally honest with me about what I've written and I wouldn't want to publish something that wasn't the very best it could be.
  7. Well obviously for publishing get a pro. I'm thinking more along the lines of hobby work, essays, fanfiction etc
  8. Ah. I mean, I'll always hand my stuff off to friends for a read through. But I've never found my particular set of friends to really be the sort of pick through and do a full edit on anything other than essay assignments for school, and even then they don't do as thorough a job as I'd prefer.
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  9. If they paid me to edit their stuff like the rest, then I might do it. (I mostly do freelance copy-editing.) I guess it would depend on what language it was. On the other hand, I can be too blunt at times, and I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so maybe I shouldn't do it if I want to keep my friends.
  10. I am nowhere near a specialised editor, but am regularly asked to look over things (which is a lot more report/paper/ad writing than fiction.) Suffices to say, I am rather direct. Then again, if I lie to make you feel better it probably means I don't care about you or your success. When people come to me they're usually expecting that mindset. Like, if you don't want to deal with criticism (and have known me for at least a couple days) you should probably know better than to ask for my opinion. If it's for a work relation, I use the shit sandwich method. Compliment, criticism, compliment. If its for a friend... I actually tend to be a lot more case by case about what I like and dislike and frankly more... Frank. Usually because I can be.

    I guess this has to do with what you're writing as well. Something that's graded or peer-reviewed or have sales/recruitment depend on it, people tend to be a lot more receptive about than something more expressive like fiction. One time I was asked to edit fiction for a relative, before getting halfway there was a red pen in there telling them they needed learn about story structure/plot progression. The conclusion was that I wasn't asked to edit for them again. On the flipside, because I tend to dance around things I dislike a lot less, a good number of people tend to accept criticism from me a lot more easily than they would from someone else.

    I'm not sure if this helps, but tl;dr what I do is just make it really clear I'm going to be critical and honest. So if people get offended, I can shrug it off as "Well, you asked for my opinion." I've butted some heads, sure, but I've not lost a single friend over this. You know the kids show "Just be yourself" speech? If honesty is your thing, the right people will appreciate you for it.
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