Is Editing Important?

Yes, this is an important question. I’ve known people who claim that the writing is what’s important, and editing for style and grammar is an unnecessary detail. “What’s important is that the message gets across,” they ask. “Everything else is fiddly-bits,” they claim. 

I can’t even begin to address how wrong this is. Wait, that’s not true. I can TOTALLY begin to express how important editing is.

It is vital to realize: first drafts are beyond slapdash. They are usually the insane ramblings of the right-hand brain. It’s an info dump, that’s all it is. L. Ron Hubbard never wrote second drafts. His motto was “first draft, last draft, get it out the door.” That’s why he holds the world record of most published writer. That’s also why 100% of his output is crap at best, and at usual should only be read close to an eyewash station. Reading him is uncomfortable because the steady drone of his bullshit stays in your head long after you hurl the book away in rage.

I’m saying that people who write witticisms in the stalls of public restrooms in the bathroom are a couple of steps ahead of Hubbard. I cast his literary sins into the sea and hope a friendly dolphin poops on them. 

Did you know he founded a “religion?” Did you know that those quotes were heavy sarcasm quotes? His secret doctrine reads like it would have failed no matter how many drafts it went through. 

Don’t be like Ron. First of all, don’t form a cult that forces people to actually pay for their indoctrination. That’s just being a jerk. Second of all, do more than one draft. I don’t think it matters that you’re the most published anything if your entire output can be summarized in the sentence “god it all really sucks SO much.” What profits a person if they gain and agent yet lose their audience?

Can you think of anyone whose favorite author is Hubbard who ISN’T a Scientologist? No, you can’t. It is literally (literarily?) impossible. Hubbard believed that editing wasn’t important. And now he is uniquely loathed in sci-fi. Is there a lesson there? You make the call!

So check for style, check for grammar, check for bugs, check for everything; just check it. None of that “first draft, last draft, get it out the door” crap. Polish it up! Take something drab and Hubbard-like, and make it important.



2 thoughts on “Is Editing Important?

    1. J. C. d'Andriole

      Thanks 🙂

      I’ve had writing friends who insisted that grammar is absolutely unimportant so long as the message gets through. I was called a “grammar nazi” for insisting it is.

      Really, I am more of a grammar presbyterian. I am sure that I am right about this, but still polite.

      Liked by 1 person

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