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An editor answers questions: Editor's Notes #334
March 03, 2021

If we would have new knowledge, we must get a world of new questions.
—Susanne K. Langer

In this issue:

1. An editor answers questions
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. My Covid-19 offer to you

1.An editor answers questions about questions
"I have one further question regarding your review. I hope I’m not imposing," wrote a recent client. His request and his hesitant tone sparked this issue.

First, I love questions from writers. Writing and editing tend to be solitary pursuits, so I don’t get many chances to chat about something deeply important to me. Any contact from a writer is welcome.

Second, I do edit for a living. I charge for editing.

First, plus second, equals third: Audrey on the teeter-totter of questions to the editor.

My love of all things literary led me to create a Web site with over one thousand pages of information anyone can access for free any time. You are reading a free newsletter where I get to write about things writers want to know. There is a special page on my Web site where you can post questions that I answer for free. (Others can also chime in and add their opinions. See Interesting Web site below for a link.)

Once someone has hired me to edit their work, we move into a whole other realm of relationship, one that includes money. When I began to edit professionally, I chose not to charge by the hour, but by the job. I make quotes and stick to them. And after I return an edit, I want my clients to feel that they can come back to me with additional questions. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, or maybe the writer has a whole new thought that neither of us thought of. Whatever the reason, I hope a client will ask. I can’t answer what is not asked. Or in plainer language, I can answer only what you ask.

Rarely, I mean maybe a handful of times in my nearly twenty years of doing this, I have had to say, "This question would take so much time for me to address that I would have to charge you $XXX," or, "This question would take more time to address than I have right now, so I suggest you look for the answer (fill in the blank with a resource that is not me)."

If a subscriber to Editor’s Notes has a question about something in Editor’s Notes, I want to answer. If a subscriber has a question about anything else related to writing, I will always answer if I can.

I think of us as a tribe. Members of a tribe help each other. I deliberately chose to name my Web site I am here to help. Help includes answering questions when possible.

PS. Sometimes questions lead to articles in Editor’s Notes. I’d be lost without those good questions, so ask away.

2.Tickled my funny bone
Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a bottle of water.

3. Interesting Web site
Feel free to ask and answer questions here:

4. Writing prompt
Here’s the opening to a short short piece. Write until you are satisfied, then share your piece with me. I’d love to see it.

The question mark painted on the weathered rock puzzled Avery.

5. My Covid-19 offer to you
I do not have a fixed date for ending this offer, but I promised to let you know when I was contemplating an ending. Right now, I expect to end this offer in the early fall. I hope that gives you time to plan how to get an edit and save money at the same time.

What follows is a copy and paste from issue number 309. The offer is still in force for you and anyone you choose to tell about it.

Along with the health threat hanging over the world, we are facing a huge financial hit. I’ve decided one thing I can do is to make quality editing less expensive during this trying time.

For subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends, I am suspending the fee for the sample edit to anyone using the code EN19 until I cancel this offer. I intend to keep this offer open as long as the world is in crisis with Covid-19 and its aftermath, so watch this space. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer. You can submit your writing sample at Be sure to click the link below the heading "Promotion Code" to get to the special form for a free sample edit. If you find yourself at a form before clicking the special link, scroll slowly back up the page, and you should see the link for the code (EN19).

But it gets better…

When I return an edited writing sample, I include quotes for the full range of my editing services. Until further notice, I will give a true quote, but I will not charge writers the full amount. I am discounting my services 50% for subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer.

Feel free to pass this offer along to any writing friends you think may be interested. As long as anyone uses the code, I’ll honour the offer.

This is what I can offer you in this time of crisis. I hope it encourages you as you face possible illness and financial uncertainty.

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