Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who died and made you editor?

Yesterday, I had a piece that I had written rejected because...well, I am not exactly sure. The form rejection said that it did not exhibit correct grammar, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation, which is like saying that something is not orange; it really does not narrow the actual problem down.

Looking over the piece, I could only find one sentence that was awkward. The rest of it would have gotten by the harshest of my university professors.

So I am left with wondering why it was rejected. Could it be that they did not want to pay for the piece and that was a handy reason. Or could it be that online editors are not necessarily qualified to do the job in the first place.

Yes, it was an online rejection.

I miss the days of the print market. At least there, you would occassionally get your article back with a sentence circled, so you would know where to look. But online rejections are even more cryptic than the form letters of the print market.

Looking over the piece, I noticed that I was writing at a college level; I was using complex and compound sentences, and some colons and semicolons.
And that is why I think the piece got bounced.

Call me paranoid. But there is one thing I have noticed from college class peer reviews and writing circles: if a person does not know why something is being done grammar-wise, they will say that it is wrong.

And a lot of online editors are not editors by trade. They are business people, computer people, and other people who did not have to suffer beyond eighth grade English (as in they never needed to prove that they knew what a semicolon was good for). These are the type of people that would prefer you to commit the crime of creating a comma splice, rather than use a semicolon.

Maybe I am wrong in this case. But the nagging voice in the back of my head tells me that I just encountered another editor who should not actually be an editor.

1 comment:

bartlebean said...

Ah, the wondering thoughts of someone rejected. I had a professor in college who stopped grading papers at error 6. The points accumulated to then resulted in that paper's grade. It made everyone a better writer. This was a great thing later in life as I now write more than most of my peers.

I don't want to pick, but in your musings I found a couple errors. Trivial at best, but Little Brown (college writing guide I used) would tell me they were wrong.

"writing circles: if a" - capital If following a colon.

semicolon was good for). - ending in a preposition and period should be inside parenthesis.

No, I'm not an editor and never want to be. And, no, I don't cruise the web looking to pick apart writers. Just found this interesting.

Best of luck. The long haul is definately the track and well worth the wait.