Editing for others

I know I should post more often. But I don’t have that much to say.

This week I was doing a Beta read for a friend in Colorado (you know, one of those friends I’ve never met). Something occurred to me about editing someone else’s work. So often, we are tempted to change wording. We have to remember there are differences in terminology even within states.

Now I had a strange childhood. By the time I was nine, I’d lived in twenty-five states and one providence of Canada. My dad was a pipeliner and we followed the line. Sometimes moving as often as every three or four weeks.

When I was nine, we moved back to my parents’ home town and I lived there until I graduated high school. I then moved to Kansas City and two years later, my husband and I moved to St. Charles, MO. I was working at at a bank in St. Louis and mentioned getting a bottle of pop. I was rudely asked, “Where are you from?” In St. Louis, you don’t drink pop, you drink soda. And this was within the same state.

Another example I remember from when we were on the line. One of the women who didn’t have a car and was from back East somewhere kept asking my mother to ‘carry’ her places. Finally Mom told her, “I won’t ‘carry’ you, but if you get in my car, I’ll ‘drive’ you there.

So, editors, be careful when you change someone’s words. It may just be a difference of terminology due to a difference in regions. (This also applies to reading works from another country such as England, Canada or Australia.) We may all speakĀ  English, but it may be different.




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