Touch me! Change me?
Written by Ghandy
As maineditor of a PC or Amiga diskmag you will always come into a really bad dilemma. On the one side you are unhappy to write most articles yourself, on the other you often receive articles including masses of grammar and spelling errors. As a responsible editor you can conduct your product in the direction you want. So it's up to you to throw those texts away to save a good overall quality or to include them to fill up your mag (- with articles you never wanted, or better say not in the way they look like).
A perfect English technique is not important as many editors bore the audience with their great written but uninteresting stuff. But all those articles being published should not include too many errors as they easily begin to disturb the reader when they are really too many. As I wrote it, it's not easy, it's a dilemma...
If you never sponsor people who have just begun writing articles and who simply wanted to support you and your mag, you will kill their motivation and it will be also you who made the circle of editors being so small. When I myself began writing articles they were maybe not full of errors, but to be honest, the main persons behind magazines at that time didn't like them very much. It took time and especially motivation to keep on writing after people wrote me in letters... "Ahh.. yes.. your article is not bad, but I won't place it in the next issue of XYZ". It was also depressing that various people even didn't find it neccessary to answer me in any way. Funny that they are exactly those people who are now wondering why nobody wants to help them.
A long time ago the Amiga editor Fishwave, and he now knows that this was a mistake, changed an article from me, included himself a lot more ideas and brought it out in an older issue of Seenpoint (without asking for my permission). You can suggest yourself how surprised and pissed off I felt after seeing the result. It took a long time until I agreed to make anything again for him. Right now I'm helping him and Sane with CN. (CN. stands for the Amiga diskmag Seenpoint) as good as I can, but I really needed my time to find his words trustworthy again.
So you see we must be very careful and act quite sensibly with brand new talents. If they see their work was published and that people like or react on it, they will keep on writing... and with the time they will become better and better. The only problem is, that their first articles are normally not good enough to be included in a decent mag in the way they look like. That was also a big problem that we had when Sixpack and me were compiling the Amiga mag "Jurassic Pack" the past years. Being friendly or not, you still have to follow your own rules. So what to do?
The solution - Touching!
Not a simple solution, but possible! Erasing all mistakes without changing the text in such a way that the author won't recognize that this text was his one isn't easy. It can often happen that you changed the global meaning or the author's opinion. Other words you put in, wrong or not, compareable or not, they often have different meanings. And besides, you still should inform and ask the editor if your corrections are acceptable for him. So he has the feeling that he, his opinion and his work is still important for you.
After all "touching" is a good possibility... You cannot make a really better article out of it, means the writing style will be the same, but it can solve many problems. You as the god behind your disk- or harddisk-operated magazine still have to decide if it (the article) is good enough to be put in your "world". But please ask yourself, who the heck is really perfect in every branch? Nobody... and for the scene this isn't really neccessary. Or what do you think?
Send me your opinion via email at: Ghandy@Neuss.Netsurf.de
- Ghandy of Darkage, Faith, Gods & Chemical Reaction