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23 July 2014

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And in Keith's addendum the second sentence at point 3 should end with a question mark.

There should also be an apostrophe 's' attached to my surname in point 9.

Happens to us all.

To prove my point about 'editorial blindness' did anyone spot the deliberate errors in the above text?

Alright; they weren't deliberate errors, they were real ones. I reckon Keith must have slipped them in there.

Paragraph 39, line 1, 'if fact' should be 'of fact'.

Paragraph 46, line 2, 'knocked duly' should be 'duly knocked'.

Another point I didn't make is about accepting an editor's advice. I know that when I see something I've written edited poorly or in a way that changes my meaning I get angry. Usually, when I settle down, I see the point of the changes.

This has a lot to do with the writer's ego. A good writer will accept good advice. If the advice is bad then you should argue your case with your editor until you agree. Don't take everything an editor suggests meekly.

A useful and timely piece, Phil. And Keith's tips, especially those regarding use of tense and overwriting, are particularly useful.

Relationships between writers and editors can be (and some would say should be) 'fraught'. The editor, after all, tampers with and alters the writer's unique creation - all in the interests of making said creation more 'readable', factually correct and compliant with accepted norms of grammar, punctuation and spelling.

In doing so, the editor fulfils several roles: structuralist, stylist, fact checker, proof reader and, some might say, all round sage.

The editor also has to juggle the interests of both the writer and the reader. No wonder that writer-editor relationships are fraught.

As a sometime editor, I find the greatest challenge when editing someone's work is with retaining the writer's 'voice' and style.

The temptation to inject one's own stylistic preferences and voice is difficult to resist, and it's a good editor who can.

Another challenge is to set aside one's own beliefs, prejudices and opinions when a writer asserts beliefs etc that are contrary to one's own.

A particular challenge when editing works by PNG writers is in dealing with top pisin, tok ples and 'pinglish'.

Like salt, sugar and spices, the right dose of those additives adds requisite flavour, taste and atmosphere to the literary feast. Too much leaves readers with a sour taste. Too little leaves them unsatisfied - and uninformed.

In the final analysis, as Phil suggests, the editor must be a critical friend: someone who knows and understands the writer and who is not afraid to assert his expertise in the interests of producing an even better outcome for his or her writer friend.

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