Official Barbara Kois Website
Editors – Friends or Foes?

The first time an editor marked up an article I had written, I felt the air leaking (gushing) out of my emotional balloon. I had labored thoughtfully over every word, every comma, every simile – and she was picking it apart!

I gritted my teeth and went through each suggested change and answered her questions. I was prepared to disagree and defend the way I had written it, but as I examined her comments and made the suggested changes, I realized she had made my story tighter, clearer, and . . . yes, better.

She also helped me see the story from the reader’s point of view. I saw that I was so close to the topic I had forgotten to think about how a reader might perceive and understand the story.

Lots to learn

Even after this helpful learning experience, I still felt a twinge of dread each time I received an editor’s comments on my writing. But trying to be a big girl, a positive person, and a professional, I tried to welcome this helpful feedback.

When I wrote my first book, the editor’s insightful and challenging questions caused me to restructure the book altogether. Once it was finished, I remembered my original version and literally cringed.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune and the editor sent it back with about a dozen questions that required calling several people and re-interviewing the subject. But the worst was that I had to incorporate all sorts of additional information and still cut the piece from 750 to 450 words! That was a challenge. But when it was finished, I saw that all of the essentials were there and it was a concise yet informative article.

Two heads better than one

Today I can honestly say that I welcome editing. It’s a privilege to have someone with expertise in the field and a fresh set of eyes read my material and use his or her knowledge to improve it.

Now that I’m an editor too, I try to use what I’ve learned to make others’ books better. I completely understand when an author isn’t thrilled to hear from me, but I hope as we work together he or she will know that the editor is really a friend who shares the author’s desire that the book becomes a best-seller!