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More Idle Thoughts From an Amateur -- Editors

October 3, 2012
Posted at 5:56 pm

Anybody who posts a story on SOL or any other erotic story site needs an editor. To my mind, editors are not optional, unless you don't care whether or not you look like an illiterate fool. Taking that a step further, you won't generate much of an audience if readers think you're an illiterate fool. No one can edit his or her own writing -- even Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Gertrude Stein had editors.

It's clear to me that most erotic story writers don't use editors. Most of the stories I've read, especially on other sites, are ghastly. If you can't be bothered with commas, periods, or proper spelling, why should I be bothered with reading your story? Punctuation and spelling have a very useful purpose -- they keep everything from jumbling up in the reader's head like some chain reaction collision on the Interstate. It's not my job as a reader to unjumble and reinterpret what you might or might not be trying to say. It's your job to properly convey your idea/vision to me in the first place.

I suspect much of the really poor erotic writing one sees is a kind of premature ejaculation on the page. The author gets a wild and hot fantasy churning in his or her head, and they just have to spill it out while it's still hot off the neurons. This fine, but it usually doesn't translate well without fixing up. That's where the editor comes in.

SOL editors are volunteers. They don't charge a dime for their services, which makes it all the more inexcusable to not have an editor. Some editors do more than others. Some will only proofread (look for spelling and grammatical errors), others might offer suggestions on improving readability, and still others are willing to help out with story flow/progression, plot management, dialogue, and any number of more advanced needs. To find out what services each editor offers (usually), enter "Find a Volunteer" on the "Authors/Editors" homepage. There, you'll see what themes the editor will or won't work with, what his or her credentials are to be an editor, and under comments, what they're willing to do with a story. Then simply submit a request.

I have a not so idle thought for volunteer editors. If you're going to offer your services, it behooves you to avoid egregious spelling and grammatical mistakes in your "Comments". This is not an isolated problem. For example i use office xp to edit stuff im a brit so you may want to emphasize which terminoligy you want used. Problems? All lower case, misspellings, no apostrophes, commas or periods. Not someone I'm going to trust proofreading my story. Or this one: I'm a preaty good stickler when it comes to spelling and grammer, I enjoy a good story and find errors to be a distraction and too many will ruin a story for me.I will proofread just about any type of story but will only critique those that aren't about t ... My oh my.

In my own experience, other annoyances I had when looking for an editor were the ones who simply listed "Availability", or didn't offer credentials, or comments on what they were willing to do as editors. And puh-leeze, when you put down "Gay" under turn-offs, indicate whether that includes "Lesbian" too. Since my themes are Ff and FF, the distinction matters. I've seen authors list "Lesbian" under acceptable themes, then list "Gay" as unacceptable. Don't make me guess whether "Gay" means MM only, or MM and FF.

So, if we all work together, the writers will look like better writers, and the editors will get whatever rewards editors get. I have a wonderful SOL editor. He makes me look like a better writer than I probably am. He didn't touch this blog, and it probably shows. But then, that's why I need an editor -- and so do you.