50 ways to love your editor

In the last few weeks I’ve read the three ‘Hunger Games’ books, and found myself experiencing something of what the author went through (on a much smaller scale) when she came up with the idea for it. Suzanne Collins was channel surfing between actual war coverage and reality TV that showed young people competing, and the lines began to blur in an ‘unsettling’ way.

So in my head, the recent inundation of critique about Fifty Shades of Grey became blurred with this lovely piece about 5 ways to get your editor to kill you, and with, of all things, a old favourite Paul Simon song, and this is what happened:

‘The story is all inside your head,’ she said to me,

‘We’ll work together so it comes out logically.

I’d like to help you in your struggle for your fee.’

I have fifty reasons to love my editor.

She said, ‘It’s really just my habit to improve

the gem you wrote; this story will your readers move.

You could repeat yourself, accentuate the mood.’

I have fifty reasons to love my editor.

Just slip in a comma, Donna,

Make a new para, Sarah,

You don’t need that apostrophe, Lee,

We’ll get your full fee.

Drop that full stop, Bob,

You don’t need to put the brakes on!

Be sure to tell the truth, Ruth,

And get your due fee.

She said, ‘Don’t worry – it just looks like disarray,

I know this piece is worth your time, don’t be dismayed

that we must edit when you thought it was okay.’

I have fifty reasons to love my editor.

‘Now with those changes you should sleep on it tonight,

then in the morning read it back aloud, you’ll find

it will be clear to you, it only needed time.’

I have fifty reasons to love my editor.

Verb and subject agree, Lee,

Use consistent tense, Jen,

That word is a weasel, Liesel,

We’ll get your full fee.

Get the facts straight, Kate,

No need to elucidate!

You should show, don’t tell, Mel,

You’ll get that full fee.

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