Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Editing Gaming Products Part 5

I was reading through my editing gaming posts because Guy Fullerton at his Chaotic Henchmen blog has written a series of posts on the subject.  But as I was rereading mine there were two very important points I left out.

The At'ta Boy
The importance of telling the writer what you liked in the manuscript.  With all those mark ups and psychotic slashing edits, its good to have a "This is great!", "This part made me laugh." or just a smiley face mixed in.

When looking a manuscript after an edit, depending on the writer, they may be disheartened.  While its important to point out how to tighten up the verse and point out weak points, its also a good habit to point out the good stuff.  Otherwise the writer is just battered with things they should change. 

 Would You Like Fries with That?
Another thing a editor should ask the writer is what they want done.  Some just want you to read it and do basic comments on what you liked and didn't.  Some want you to read it line by line and point out every flaw.  And of course the many layers in between.  This would apply, if the relationship is a casual situation where the writer is asking a favor.  Since I am coming from our old school state of mind where we pool our resources and help one another its good to ask what degree the writer wants their manuscript picked over.

I once edited a short manuscript and it needed some moderate changes.  Nothing big, but when I sent it back I think he was insulted that I had marked up his script.  I guess he expected me just to tell him I liked it.  Which I did, I just made suggestions on how to make it tighter.  It was all cool when it was done.  He was just surprised at all the changes I suggested.  When we went over them he saw what I did and thought most were appropriate.

So Dear Editors of the OSR, it's always good to ask what the writing is looking for in a critique.  And Ivy says don't forget to add a few smile faces to the manuscript.  That's what she does for me, as she mixes them with the editorial slashes and comments like ...

... "this part works, just get rid of the crappy parts, and you'll be fine."


  1. Tim, I'm looking forward to that bleeding red pen mark on my manuscript. I'm sure it'll be a massace but that's OK. Since I'm primarily a visual artist and used to critiques, I'm good with it. I'd like to strengthen my writing chops to be a "double threat" so to speak, hehehe. I think editors are one of the most under appreciated and recognized folks in the creative process.

  2. That second point "Would you like fries with that" is a very important and oft-forgotten aspect of editing!

  3. Good advice, Tim. I can only speak for myself, but when I was writing Weird Adventures, I was grateful for meticulous criticism--even when in a given moment a particular suggestion might get under my skin. Overall, I think intelligent criticism is much more helpful than thoughtless "it was good"--though you do wanna hear where it's good too!

  4. Not everyone can take a critique well. So back when I did a lot of personal editing, I always asked what the writer wanted from my edits.

    Some just wanted to know where I laughed or got confused. Others a full-blown edit.

    And on the thoughts of perspective, back when I published non-fiction, I'd get edits from both non-writers and writers. I found the non-writers to be just as important because they saw things that the writers, never did.

    Sometimes a different perspective helps a lot.

    And with Tim and I, we know each other well enough to be honest. If something doesn't work, we tell each other. Straight forward. Simple. Easy.

    Same goes for my cooking, if I'm trying out a new formula. It does me no good to say it's good, if it's not.

    Happy Writing & Happy Editing :-)

  5. When I do any editing for the OSR, I'm careful to only look at spelling errors and punctuation errors that closely. If there's a seeming obvious word choice concern OR if a sentence is so confusing that I cannot make clear sense of it, then I'll put a "suggestion" of a different phrasing. After all, it's the writer's voice that he wants in his product, not mine.
    And of course, when something is so excellent that it makes you laugh or give a little "whoa" then you MUST point it out.

    Now, that being said, I just have to wait for Dylan to swoop in here and tell everyone what a cruel editor I am.... (grin)

  6. I tend to go a little stronger with my edits than Boric, as I'm sure Dylan will point out. However I try to differentiate my opinion editing from the things I feel are out and out in need of fixing.

    I do need to work on pointing out the good stuff though, because there is so much of it!