How to become an editor?
Written by Ghandy
Thesis: Editors are intelligent. Only intelligent and well educated fellows can write good articles which are worth reading.
Antithesis: Editors do not have to be intelligent. Writing articles is a matter of practise and dictionaries.
Thesis versus antithesis... David against Goliath! But that's not all we'll try to focus on...
The following is some guiding lines which may help you to jump into the breed of the word artists. Or to have a deep look inside this guild, which hopefully provides for the reader not only positive facts about these "word workers". Interested? Then don't zap to another channel...
What do you need as an editor if it's NOT intelligence or a wide, good education? Well, of course you will need some knowledge of the English language and there we can't help you. Maybe you should pay a little bit more attention to your English lessons at school. Scening does not always have to be a destructive factor for school childs...
Anyway the most important thing that pushes you forward as a scene-journalist is curiosity. You should be curious for example how the scene works, what motivations people have, what feelings sceners share, what traditions are going to die and what new ones are currently introduced etc.
An ego-stimulation may be a reason to write articles, but it should not be the biggest and most important one. To be honest, most of the present scenish wordartists work hard because they want to see their own names in diskmags, their handles or their productions on top of the charts. Ask some of them! Ask The Ripper, Mop, Rokdazone, Sane, Fishwave, Shade, Alive, especially Magic or of course also me why we all spend so much time behind our computer. If they are really honest, they will agree to my words.
You can easily find out how important it is for an author to gain acceptance and fame. "Famegrabbers" don't investigate, famegrabbers waste all their time and space to tell the audience what opinions they have about fact a, scener b, group c or country d. It's easy to discover them! There are always more then two points of a view for a normal person, but not for those mates. Only their opinion counts, only their words are law... Isn't that uninteresting to read? Damn - it is...
A lot of stuff that is published in mags is nothing but boring! Articles longer than twenty pages, party reviews of editors which were never present, texts in the "state of the art" language nobody can understand, uninteresting topics about drunken sceners, faked swappers, busted modemtraders, deadborn babies etc. You as the reader can skim through in some minutes, reading some lines here, watching at some cliparts there, and that was it. You are not satisfied, you want something different? Hey, then do it yourself! Being less satisfied with the work of the others can also be a valid and long lasting motivation...
You need some ideas? Well, that should be no problem. For the start you could do some interviews. Using the email as a fast and mostly reliable form of communication you could ask real oldskool sceners if they would maybe want to be interviewed by you. And believe me, most people will agree if they are still interested in the scene anyhow. Not to forget that it's a pleasure to give an interview to the public... not only a pleasure, also a kind of advertisment.
A possibility could it be to ask them if they are still active, why they left the scene, if they have found any possibility to earn money with their talent in real life, if they have founded a family, what kind of role sex plays for them, etc. Many people will be interested to read what's going on with their heroes of the past. For an interview you won't need such a perfect language skill. And last but not least if you don't know a word, just have a look inside your dictionary. Did you think any editor works without one? Nobody does! At this point I would like to to put forward a theory.
Ghandy's theory of dictionaries
1. Editors use dictionaries to let their articles look like more professional. So to show the others how good their vocabulary is, they use foreign, odd sounding words out of their books.
2. Sceners try to read the editors' articles. At many points they discover those strange words they don't know the translation of. What to do?
a) They try to find out the sense of the article without understanding a word here and there. Many sceners don't care about every single word editors write. (But please don't tell this to editors...)
b) Some sceners, mainly editors, have a look inside their dictionary to understand the complete meaning.
3. Other editors write answer-articles again nobody can understand because they use the same f*cking terms.
4. Please continue at point one etc. etc. (It's a neverending misery.)
And what does this tell us at all? That you need a standard of vocabulary that should be easy enough to be readable for everyone and hard enough to keep the professional touch. It won't be good and helpful if it is too scientific or too simply written. The best writers are those who are able to find the golden middle of the two extremes.
What else can be helpful?
Don't write your article too short. Maybe some of you remember Woober's "shorties" in Jurassic Pack issue four (Amiga). These articles were really much too short, but he also made another mistake. He wrote down one idea after the other without explaining them. So his articles look more like summaries than like anything else... If you introduce an opinion or fact or whatever you also have to explain it in some sentences. Otherwise it will get boring and of course way too short!
You still didn't find the courage? Well, maybe these facts will help you to see that all people only cook with nothing else then pure water.
Did you know that:
- Mop's native language is English? So nobody has to be surprised anymore at his perfect knowledge...
- The Italian language is quite close to Latin? So knowing this fact you don't have to wonder about the really extravagant terms of Parsec, The Ripper, Macno etc.
- Every editor throws the first articles he made away? Maybe they were published, but their quality was terribly bad. Does anybody remember them now? No!
Everybody had to find his starting point as a total beginner. Everybody had his hour zero, which means the first time watching at a clear editor screen and not knowing how to put one's thoughts to good sounding words. Don't be depressed, you'll see, each time you have finished something, it will be a bit easier for you. And don't forget that really EVERY diskmag is in heavy need of support. There are enough helpful editors out there who could help you on your way.
P.S.: It was never so easy to join as a co-editor as it is today. Why the heck do you think "Fishbrain" accepted me as a co-ed?
- Ghandy of Darkage, Faith, Gods & Chemical Reaction