• Member Since 24th Jul, 2013
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Always late to the party.

More Blog Posts52

  • 3 weeks
    For the Glory of All Yaks

    The title of this post is apparently what "For the Benefit of Yaks" translates to in French. Well, maybe not perfectly, but I approve regardless.

    I mention this because For the Benefit of Yaks has actually been translated into French!

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    1 comments · 31 views
  • 21 weeks
    Story Notes - For the Benefit of Yaks

    Admiral Biscuit does it all the time, so why shouldn’t I?  Unlike him, though, I’m not good at finding cute ponies to space things out with, so have a picture of the cover.  Again.

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    8 comments · 118 views
  • 50 weeks
    The Most Important Thing?

    In the last year, I've finally acknowledged the obvious: There is a difference between "I want to write but don't have much time" and "I write despite the fact that I don't have much time".

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    5 comments · 86 views
  • 60 weeks
    Telling Time (Mark II): Holidays

    Continuing on this line of work, this edition of the Equestrian calendar documents major holidays. Also included are a few notes on pegasus/earth pony weeks.

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    3 comments · 107 views
  • 61 weeks
    Telling Time: Mark I

    I am very much not the most productive person on this site, but I promise I've been doing something with my time! Sure, I don't really have much of the next story I've been working on to show for it, but that's because I've been working on the research (if you could call it that) behind it a lot more than I have been working on writing it. This is one of those things.

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    4 comments · 124 views

Editing: Follow These Three Simple Tips to Become a Widely-Respected Editor · 11:43pm Nov 9th, 2018

Today I’m going to pseudo-officially start that series of editing advice blogs I’ve been thinking about for a while now.

Originally, I had planned to make a series discussing specific topics with things like documentation and properly-qualified opinions – sort of like Viking ZX’s Being a Better Writer – but Admiral Biscuit recently showed that you can just sum it all up in a couple of bullet points and not lose anything important.

So here it is!  I, an esoteric editor of some renown (to at least part of my limited collection of followers), am going to share with you the most important tips for becoming a respectable editor.  It’s possible that you might not be able to find this information elsewhere on the Internet but – lucky you – I’m going to provide it here, right now, free of charge (and you can thank the Admiral for putting me in such a generous mood).

The First Tip: The Arsenal

Every editor has to start somewhere, and maybe you’ve already done this, but this is an important step.

You need to know things like proper punctuation, capitalization, and sometimes esoteric words.  The best way to do this is to read freely-available guides and reference materials, like the Fimfiction writing guide above.  This will give you a basic primer on the advanced basics of using things like Oxford commas, dashes, and ellipses. Actually referring to these such materials will give you a big boost up in editing superiority over others; in fact, the more widely-available the reference material is, the more you can rub in your excellence later on, because it shows that you know how to pay attention to obvious things as well as the obscure.

It’s important to remember that the common issues are the most economical to learn about correcting.  Learning the difference between “than” and “then”, and the various uses of “affect” and “effect” will get you much more mileage.  More examples include the use of properly-curled quotation marks, the number of spaces used between sentences, and where, exactly, one should use an apostrophe for the various cases of possessives.  Following this tip is important for your image as an editor: the arsenal of minor corrections that you can bring up constantly is the foundation for the following tip.

If you want to do more than just copyediting, you’ll want to know things about stories like pacing and characterization, but don’t sweat it too much; you’re here and reading this blog because you’re smart enough to realize that it’s easier to point out problems with something that already exists than it is not to make mistakes in the first place.  Writers usually love being told how they can improve, too, so it’s win-win for everybody involved.

Tip #2:  Creating an Image of Competence

Okay, everybody, here’s where the rubber meets the road.  By now, you have an arsenal of minor corrections. What do you do with it?

You use it!  Constantly!

There are two sides to this, and both are important.  First, you need to use everything you know correctly in everything you type.  It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an English paper or communicating in a video game: take the time to capitalize everything properly – especially those “i”s, which you should now know are a proper noun – as this will start to build your image of competence and a supply of supporting evidence when you claim to know what you’re talking about.  Not only should you not be afraid to use uncommon punctuation – such as en dashes and em dashes… and proper ellipsis characters – you should try to find as many ways to include them as possible; using a semicolon is a fantastic way to show other people that you know your way around English.

Second, you need to make a habit of pointing out these mistakes in others’ writing, no matter what it is.  You’re doing them a service whether they’re happy about it or not, and they’ll probably forgive you at most a few years later when they finally recognize that you were right.  And you are right; unlike the uncultured plebeians and other trolls on the internet, you took time time to know your stuff, so don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.  They clearly haven’t spent as much time studying the proper use of English as you have. If they’re persistent, make sure you point out the freely-available reference materials that you studied and highlight the fact that they haven’t even looked at them.  Kudos if you write a blog post somewhere and can point out your own specific take on the issue, because not only does this show that you fully understand what you’re talking about, it also shows that you’re a nice person and have contributed to the freely-available resources in order to help people like the ones you’re arguing with.  Sometimes, you’ll have to resort to turning it into an argument over the definitions of jargon or other esoteric words, which will either drive them off in a huff (which stops them from spreading dangerous misinformation) or they’ll have to admit that they misunderstood you.

Do note that you can start to follow this tip shortly after starting the first if you keep reference materials on-hand, like a dictionary tab and a writing guide or two.  Don’t be afraid – even when you have a developed arsenal – to perform an internet search on-the-fly so that you can still provide the proper information and pretend you already knew.

C: Perfection is Achieved…

…when you say so.  You have a gig as an editor for some story now, right?  The story was the writer’s up until the moment they handed it off to you, and now it’s yours—kinda.  In the sense that you didn’t write any of it but you can do anything you want to it, it is yours. If the writer knew better than you, they would be an editor and would probably edit their own work.  But they aren’t, or have at least acknowledged your competence as an editor because, after you’ve been dogging the internet at large, you’re pretty well-known and everybody knows you’re the person to turn to for a high-end editing job.

For you who are advising on story-specific problems like that aforementioned characterization or plot, this may seem counterintuitive at first: make sure you use inelegant—but correct—solutions and don’t be wishy-washy with the writer; anyone could suggest small changes to fix a continuity error or to ensure a mood is conveyed properly, but it both takes more skill to suggest wordy-but-correct solutions and allows you to claim a larger piece of the publicity pie.  It’s pretty simple: the more you change, the more you can say you helped.

Make sure you keep a list of all the works you have edited; as you build it up, it’ll really help you railroad an uncooperative writer into following your advice.  There are additional kudos to be had if you can position yourself as a gatekeeper of sorts to a collection of works; this gives you the opportunity to offer editing advice to more people – even those that would otherwise avoid editors in general (oh, those poor, poor people).  Beyond that, these writers will listen to your advice more closely because they know that you wouldn’t be a gatekeeper if you didn’t know your stuff. And they also know that they have to follow your advice if they want you to approve their work. It’s basically free gravitas to your already-good advice.

Being an editor is a respectable occupation.  Internet plebeians are many and their mistakes are numerous; there’s plenty of editing work to be found.  Now you, too, can take full advantage of these opportunities. When you keep these tips in mind, your editing career will hyperaccelerate and you’ll start building a reputation in no time.

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