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An editor at deadline

I’ve been editing a lot of stories over the past four years. Most of them have been news stories. A few have been features. But deadline approaches. It’s almost time to let them go in the annual parade of pomp and circumstance.

News stories rarely deal with the same set of facts, but the process of editing them rarely varies. Is all of the pertinent information there? Is it all accurate? Is it presented in the proper sequence? Does the story answer all the questions it should? If there’s something about it that sets it apart from others like it, has that element been emphasized? In the end, all of these questions may be condensed into one: Is it a good story?

This same question matters most in the editing of a feature story too. Features may be richer than news stories, and their facts may unfold differently, and it may take longer to read them, but in the end, they’re just stories too.

As I said, deadline approaches. After today, I’ll have one work week. It’s too late for major rewrites; it’s all down to one final read and a tweak or two for a handful of them. In fact, I’ve finished with most of them. When deadline sounds next Sunday morning with a swish of gowns, the trickling of tears, and shallow bravado, I can hope for is that the writers' voices ring true and that my touches have been invisible. After all, these are not my stories; they have merely been entrusted to me for a time.

After next Sunday, I’ll take some time off, from mid-May to mid-August, and then it’s on to the next batch of stories. Oh, for awhile I’ll remember certain aspects of some of this year’s stories, but they weren't written for me to dwell on. They’ve been written as gifts for their readers.

And there won’t be any sequels.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
I was going to make a smart-ass remark that require me to puff up my chest....
May. 10th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
Given the topic, you'd wind up ripping out of your shirt.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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