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A Writer's Edge

English words, writing, and books--with a tech touch

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Name: Georganna Hancock
Location: San Diego, California, United States

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Why Editors Say No

Ring! Ring! "Hello, editing central."
"I can't find your rates anywhere on your website!"
"That's because it depends on the work, the complexity and length, and the kind of editing services desired."
I convinced the caller at the other end of the country to email her "short story" for me to look over.  It turned out to be a rather nice story poem, written in contemporary verse. I wrote back:


Your lovely story poem is something I would not edit. Poems are so personal and so much creative writing rather than something to convey information.  Although I might punctuate it differently, I wouldn't know if I were violating your intentions. In poetry, copyediting matters are as much the author's tool as rhyme and word selection.
I will offer this advice, however:  read the poem out loud, maybe even into a recorder, and listen for the places where you want the reader's voice to continue to the next line without a break, and where you want pauses or stops.  Take away any punctuation that causes a break where you don't want one, and add the appropriate marks where you want a pause or stop.
Punctuation ranges from "snatch a breath" (comma) to full stop (period).  Semicolons formally separate phrases that could stand alone as complete sentences; a colon indicates a medium pause but continuing in the same tone of voice because what follows is an explanation of what came before the colon.  Use ellipses and em dashes sparingly. An ellipse marks a place where the voice trails off and pauses before starting a new sentence, while an em dash is a pause like a comma, only longer and the voice continues in the same tone.  As Jay Leno says:  exactly the same, only different!
I see no capitalization problems, but have you seen poetry by ee cummings?  That is another poet's choice! 
My minimum fee for any service is two hours of my maximum charge, $70 per hour. So, if you still want me to edit it, that's what you'd have to pay.  I suspect you can tweak it yourself with the information above.
Please keep me in mind for your future editorial needs.
Yours truly,
Georganna Hancock
10725 Escobar Drive
San Diego CA 92124
A Writer's Edge
Hancock Websites
Just yesterday, I had to explain why I would/could not help a woman with her novel--she wanted developmental editing (POV, pacing, plot) and only on a partially written manuscript.  If I could do that type of editing fiction, I told her, I would be writing novels myself! 

Quick! Somebody send some solid nonfiction so I can get all up in your words.

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Blogger ... Paige said...

I guess since you put it that way

Happy Friday Geo

8:00 AM  
Blogger Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

Back atcha, Paige. I was so sorry to read of your continuing troubles (in one of your blogs). I sure hope *your* Friday is a happy one. Hang in there! Does Texas have a medical insurance plan y'alls could qualify for maybe?

2:50 PM  

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