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  • Writer's pictureChris Malburg

Managing the Editors

Editors are a different breed. A breed apart. One that cares not a wit about how hard you work or how much you love that line; paragraph; or page. Doesn't work! Strike it! Burn it! Over a career spanning 4 million published words I've had the privilege of working with some excellent editors and some who were less so. My philosophy is that once a project is complete and submitted and I've been paid, then it's theirs. The editors may do what they wish with it. My latest cyber thriller, Man of Honor, began with over 90,000 words. With the help of two skilled editors we managed to pare it down to 64,000 words. It is now a tight book that moves without any wasted motion.

One editor at a magazine I work for chastised me for missing the exact number of watches China produces each year--663 million, many of which are replica watches according to him. Such a number is unknowable, especially after tossing in the criminal element. But the editor thought he had the answer.

Another editor--who is a lovely woman and among my favorites--changed one image I submitted for the end of my piece to something unrelated. As published, the piece is like telling a 3500-word joke but stepping on the punch line at the very end. Readers caught her error; she apologized for it. But she has yet to fix it.

At the end of the day, our editors are human like everyone else. They make the same mistakes everyone else does. Problem is, they have the power to wield the knife over their kingdom that is the cutting room.


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