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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Editing Principle 30: Feelings and Wavy Lines


Marriage counselors advise people to own their reactions, as in: Don’t tell another person, “You’re so bloody inconsiderate it’s unbelievable.” Instead describe a behavior in neutral terms and then its effect on you. For instance: “When we say we’ll meet at 8, and you show up at 8:20 and don’t apologize or explain why, I…

Editing Principle 29: Expressing Empathy


Many writers, if they’re insecure about their work, will try to manage the editor’s expectations. They apologize for the work’s rough state, say how little time they’ve had to polish—anything to keep expectations low. They do not want you to think poorly of them personally, and their thinking in these instances goes something like this:…