Landis Wade gives us an amusing insight into the editorial process.
Writer: Rain hit Shelia's windshield like pellets from a scattergun as the sun broke through the clouds.
Editor: Don't start a story with the weather. And don't use so much description that it detracts from the pace of the story.
Writer: __ ___ Shelia's windshield __ ___ ___ _ _____ __ ___ ___ broke ___ ___ ___.
Writer: Momma said Shelia's baby was as cute as a button.
Editor: Don't use clichés. You need to make it real.
Writer: Momma said Shelia's baby was as cute as a real button.
Writer: John was sure Shelia would confess. The judge thought so too.
Editor: You can't be in the heads of two different people in the same scene. It's called point of view. Be creative if you want to show that both men were thinking the same thing.
Writer: John and the judge were like a two-headed man. They both thought Shelia would confess.
Writer: Shelia was sure Harold would take to her. She'd prepared her lines. Dressed well. Done her homework. Turns out. She was right. He loved her right away.
Editor: There is no conflict in this story. Stories have to have conflict to be interesting.
Writer: Shelia was sure Harold would take to her. She'd prepared her lines. Dressed well. Done her homework. Turns out. She was wrong. Harold was a bastard.
Writer: "Can you tell me where to hide?" Shelia shakily asked.
Editor: Careful with the adverb. Just use the word "said" when writing dialogue.
Writer: "Can you tell me where to hide?" Shelia shakily said.
Writer: Having taken the last round of medicine and gotten no better, the doctor said Shelia's chances were hopeless.
Editor: This is a dangling participle. You make it sound like the doctor had taken the last round of medicine. Surely, that's not what you mean.
Writer: The doctor did take the last round of medicine. So much for Shelia's chances.
Writer: "The jewel is missing, Shelia, and I know you took it. Where is it at?"
Editor: Your inspector is too sophisticated to end a sentence with a preposition.
Writer: "The jewel is missing, Shelia, and I know you took it. Where is it at, bitch?"
Writer: Shelia had won the race but her hamstrings were as tight as the tick on her dog's butt.
Editor: This simile is predictable and trite. You can do better.
Writer: Shelia had won the race but her hamstrings were as tight as the stick up her editor's ass.
THE END (OF THE WRITER-EDITOR RELATIONSHIP)