EDIT THIS… by Margaret Price © 2005


"I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read my story," the author said congenially. "Colin said you were—How did he put it? Oh, yeah. 'The man in the know, linguistically speaking.' Well, what did you think?"

"Ah…" came the hesitant reply.

"It wasn't that bad, was it?"

"How honest do you want me to be?"

The author frowned. This was not the most positive of beginnings. "Why?"

"You made several errors in syntax that I could see right off," the unwilling proof reader/editor replied cautiously. "You go from first person to third in several paragraphs. That's very annoying as well as distracting. And you confuse your tenses in several places."

"Oh, I can fix that," the author replied. "I was afraid you'd found a plot hole you could drive a truck through."

"Lorry," the editor corrected.

"What about her?"

"Not truck, lorry. You're writing a basically British character, but using American terminology."


"So?" the editor repeated. Seeing the blank look on the author's face, he sighed heavily. "What if you read a story set in say…New York and the main character told someone to open the car boot?"

"The what?" the confused author asked.

"My point exactly. I think you need to do a bit more research into colloquialisms before you submit this…epic adventure. Buy a thesaurus, a new dictionary, and don't rely on your computer's software to correct all your spelling and grammar. It isn't perfect, you know."

"Anything else?" the author asked with a resigned sigh.

The editor grinned, putting on his ridiculously colorful coat. "Yes. You might try making me—er, him, less bombastic. No one could have an ego that big."