How's that for tempting?
I need an editor. Occasionally I work on articles for submission to magazines. I need someone to run through them with a fine-toothed comb and an eagle's eye. Preferrably, of course, someone with writing experience, a strong command of writing fundamentals and grammar, and because I usually write about unschooling, someone with experience there as well.
I sometimes have a real-life in-the-flesh friend do it. But sometimes I don't want one of my close friends, whom I have to see every Thursday for example, beat me over the head with my dangling participles. I mean, I like my friends. I want to continue liking my friends. Sometimes when my editor-turned-friend tells me I'm too wordy or my essay doesn't make the point I'm hoping it makes, I want to call her a "poophead" and that's just not good for anyone.
I once wrote an essay for a Women's Stories publication. (Now see? I didn't know where to go with that sentence, so I just put a period and will start on the next. That's where YOU can come in! Help me, please!) The submissions guidelines said the essays had to be 300 words or less. 300 words. Three. Hundred. Words. Do you know how little can be said in 300 words?
Lemme give you a hint - so far, in this blog post, I've used 255. And I think you'll agree... I've said very, very little.
(I need help in not going off on tangents, too.)
Anyhoo... I submitted two essays, and one was a spoof (a satire? a farce? a cheap gimmick? Can you be a thesaurus too? You're a doll.) on the 300 word limit. They liked it so much it was selected to be performed at their public event. Woohoo! (I know, woohoo should never, ever be put into something for publication. Should it?)
In it, I referenced Marianne Moore, modernist American poet and writer, who advised to "kill your little darlings."
Well here... rather than re-paraphrasing-ing (ahem) the whole thing, read it for yourself:
When I first read the submissions guidelines for Women’s Stories, I about choked on the 300-word maximum. 300 words? Only 300? (Oops, see, I just wasted four!) This would be challenging!
My essays are typically 800-900 words long. (Does “800-900” count as one word or two? Oh dear.) Selecting five- to six-hundred words to cut sounds agonizing. (Writing out “five- to six-hundred” definitely removes the question, doesn’t it.) But as an aspiring writer, I will do this. I will take vital, relevant, flowing words and delete them. As if they mean nothing at all. It won’t be any trouble. Really.
Marianne Moore, a modernist American poet and writer, advised to “Kill your little darlings.” You know, those phrases or lilting alliterations that, in the end, you know don’t work, but you want oh-so-badly (is “oh-so-badly” one word or three?) to keep in anyway because you are so in love with them. And as we know, love is blind. Like when your friends know your new boyfriend is a rotten cad but it takes you thirteen months and week-long crying jags to realize it. Blind like that.
It’s happened to me. I’ve reread old columns, and in hindsight clearly seen “little darlings” that did nothing at all to enhance my essays. I had kept them in, blind with self-serving love. Appalling. (One-word sentence - short yet effective.)
But didn’t writing instructors teach us to embellish? Yes, I distinctly recall “she inched, slowly, across the darkened room” getting better marks than “she walked through the room.” It figures… I spent all those years adding “more”, and now am told to write less.
But alas, the limit is near. To feed my nagging hunger, I’m off to write a lengthy essay for something else; filled, no doubt, with little darlings. Come to Mama!
And all that (pant pant pant) is just to say - I need help. A writer has a hard time killing her little darlings. We get all oooey-gooey, thinking some little phrase has just the right clip to it, when it may not add one d*mn thing to the essay.
So, whaddya say? I have nothing to pay you, other than some glowing recognition and air-kisses when I stroll the red carpet of writer's fame. Wait, if I get to stroll a red carpet of writer's fame (is there a red carpet of writer's fame?), that means I'll be making a gobload of money. And if I'm making a gobload of money, and you helped me get there, well, it's only fair that you be compensated.
I'm getting ahead of myself.
The straight poo - are you interested in editing my work? If so, flip an email to email@example.com. I promise the work will be infrequent (feel the ambition!) and ineloquent (which is why I need you). Oh, and I mostly write essay-length articles, and occasionally work on book chapters - one on unschooling, one on grief. If you're game, I'd love a little help with those too.
Anyone game? Grab yer hatchet, do a few tricep stretches, and shoot me an email - I've got some little darlings cowering in corners over here!