5 Remarkable Markup Skills Editors Learn That Writers Should Know

5 Remarkable Markup Skills Editors Learn That Writers Should Know

For every writer, there is an editor.


Editors, the people who think they have more right words than you do. It doesn't seem right that you write this thorough submission you spent countless hours on, you wait months, possibly a year, for a response, and the editors leave you their customary stamp of all submissions you've sent their way.

Questions follow: Does the acceptance letter exist? What are they thinking? Are editors just a special form of Grammar Nazis?Having been an editor for The Florida Review, I can answer: Yes, a lot of things, and sometimes.

The world of editing can be cruel, heartbreaking, and but also very kind, and you will read all about it from these five skills editors have but don't always share with you.

1. "Encouraging" rejection letters.


Rejection letters wouldn't hurt so bad if they weren't so encouragingly vague. Editors like to use flowery language in their replies that never go into details. They will tell you they "appreciate" your story or this "quality worked really well."

Magazines and journals everywhere have deadlines to meet and quota to make, so editors don't always have the chance to analyze every page. There are some submissions that get, let's say, "experimental," that we know right away are not ready for publication.

Most of the time it has to do with an inconsistent plot or lack thereof, other times it borders on how cliche or believable it may sound. What editors really want is for writers to be their own editors, so it's a learning experience for both of us.

2. Creativity and quality control.


Time isn't the only reason editors are vague. There are a number of submissions we have to read each week and place in the "hot box." Each group of editors pick one piece to discuss and consider for publication at the editorial meeting.

Other works we feel could also be published are on the back burner, in case there are future submissions that did not realize their potential. Some publications have an acceptance rate just under ten percent.

If we collectively read through 50 submissions, that means only five of them will be potentially published. Editors don't police your creativity as much as they do police the quality of it.

The submission has to have focus, it has to know what it's trying to say, and then it must say it.

3. If you love something, set it free.


Editorial meetings can get heated, but in an enthusiastic way. The stories bring it out in us. One minute everyone in the room likes the piece and the next one editor points out a writer's oversight.

It's hard to part ways with a story that shows promise. Even when the adjustments are minor, rare is it for an editor to work with the writer on a second chance without a rejection letter.

Doors like that don't always open, and they can close. Windows of opportunity, however, are always transparent.

4. Queries are a curious thing.


Editors and writers are not always enemies. We do not share the "loose lips sink ships" mentality; if we did, we'd all be stuck in our heads or stuck in separate rooms, one only for editors and one only for writers.

Believe it or not, there is a relationship editors and writers share. We both depend on words. Language is one of those connections that is always defining and redefining our social discourse.

Editors might not read a lengthy cover letter filled with your bio starting from childhood and your numerous accolades that followed completely. They have to get to your submission sooner than later.

But editors do appreciate a short and sweet, kindly worded cover letter. The more bold approach is the query letter, where you have written or are going to write an idea that you are pitching to the editors.

In a query, you introduce yourself and ask if they would be interested in your idea. Here, you don't face rejection and now you have your foot in the door.

Soon enough, the editors will recognize you and your work, and they will show the same initiative and interest you had for them, for you, twofold. Build that portfolio, make connections, keep a network going.

5. Focus and fun are not exclusive.


You write something you think is well-written and then you hear and see the missteps in it. Not all writers are their own critic and being critiqued does not fall easy on some of their eyes or ears.

Editors get their eyes and ears hurt too, but they have learned to tolerate it. Writers, like editors, should come to their work subjectively at first, creating and feeling as they go.

After a time, you can look at your work objectively, learn from a craft standpoint what is working and what is not working. Seeing what tells your story best and enjoying how it is being told is the end goal for the two of you.

Threading the eye of a needle can be done, but it can't be done without focus and fun.

Editors and writers are not so different, they're actually two necessary parts to a literary whole.

Popular Right Now

3 Pros & Cons Of Working On The Weekends

Working on the weekends is not as bad as you think.

Working on the weekends can be a hit or miss, depending on the person. Personally, I don’t mind working the weekends but I completely understand those who hate it with a burning passion. Working on the weekends isn’t for everyone, but like all things, it does have its pros and cons.


1. You get to enjoy the weekdays

This is the biggest pro when it comes to working on the weekends. Think about it, if you want to go to the mall, the beach or even a theme park chances are the crowds will be minimal and wait times will be almost nonexistent. Have to schedule a doctor’s appointment? You won’t have to worry about coming in late or leaving early because you already have two weekdays off.

2. No rush hour traffic

No one likes getting stuck in rush hour traffic. No one. If getting to work in rush hour takes 40 minutes, coming in on the weekend will probably take 20. You have more than enough time to stop for coffee or grab something to eat.

3. Getting that work/school balance

If you are a student, working on the weekends is the best thing. You don’t have to cram all of your classes into two days and you get to space out your life. With good organization and planning skills, working on the weekend can make your life 1000% easier.


1. The weekends are always busy

Grocery stores, movie theaters and basically anywhere kid friendly are all going to be busy on the weekends, no matter what. Working on the weekends pretty much means that you are constantly working or helping people, especially in retail and customer service positions.

2. You’re working when everyone else is off

While everyone is out on the weekends, you’re stuck at work. While having the weekdays off is wonderful, it can be hard to plan birthday parties or other events with your friends. When you finally get a weekend off, you’ll have no idea what to do with yourself.

3. No one really wants to work on the weekends

While I love working on the weekends, very few people share the same sentiment. It might be hard to find people to switch shifts with you solely because you work on a Saturday or Sunday. Even though not everyone likes to work the weekends, the bonds you make with the other weekend crew members makes all the difference.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Kotliarskyi

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Tips For Those Just Starting To Build A Resume

How to stand out and be professional at the same time.


A resume is something every single job on the planet will request. You all have one, or you at least know how to outline one and what to put on it.

Your resume should tell your potential employer everything relevant about you in one page or less. If your anything like me, that can be hard. So, I've compiled some tips that maybe will help you out, especially if your just getting started in the workforce:

1. Match your resume to your cover letter

In one of my classes, I learned that sometimes people put all of their focus into making their resume look so bold and flashy, that they forget they should be putting the same amount of effort into their cover letters. This is a huge mistake. If you use Microsoft Word to outline your resume, they probably have the same template for a cover letter. Utilize that, because not everyone does and that could give you an edge in the hiring process. You should also be rewriting your cover letter each time and tailoring it to the specific company and position.

2. Make a list of *all* your skills

One great tip I learned is that different companies might expect different skills, even if you're applying for a similar position. By making a long list of all your personal traits and skills, you can highlight your best aspects for a tailor-made resume. Read their expectations and qualifications very carefully, because they usually hint what they are looking for. For example, if they say they want someone who is proficient in AP Style and Microsoft Excel, you should probably include in your skill portion that you know AP Style and how to use Microsoft Excel (only if you actually are, don't lie on your resume! That's unprofessional).

3. Your experience section should reflect your traits

I know this seems like common sense, but when you are describing your responsibilities this is your chance to showcase those traits. If you say you're fluent in AP Style, then obviously you should write your resume in AP Style and not a different format. If you say you have leadership skills, include a position where you were in charge of a project or in a managerial position.

4. Short skills section

Those generic descriptors (motivated, hard-working, self-sufficient) are unnecessary. Keep it short and sweet, only the most relevant information here. This is where that list comes in handy because you can cherry pick your skills that are the most beneficial. Plus, your work experience and your samples will display even more skills that you have. This is just supposed to be the part that can catch the hiring managers attention, it's the part that shows them almost immediately if you're worth even a second glance.

5. Don't just describe your job, identify your accomplishments

The hiring manager reading through your resume probably doesn't care that you wrote an article for Odyssey once a week. However, they probably do care that you racked up 500,000 views on one article or that you have an average of 3,000 views per article.

Give them the numbers and the physical proof, that's what they want. Anyone can say that they worked a Twitter page and have experience running an account for someone, but only you can say that you increased the follower count by 30 percent in the three months that you were there.

6. Update your resume as you go

If you're applying for an entry-level, try to clean out anything older than five years, within reason. You don't need to include your high school volunteer job that you did to get your National Honor Society hours. However, if you've been working at the same grocery store throughout both high school and college, that's a good inclusion because it shows commitment.

When you get older and join the workforce, 10 to 15 years of experience should be fine. This is because higher level positions clearly expect you to have more than a few years of experience. Plus, when you get older, the length of time that you were at a position shows expertise in the field.

7. Proofread

This should be clear enough. Read through your resume and then read through it again. Let multiple pairs of eyes check it, too. When you're 100 percent sure that it's free of mistakes, read through it again.

8. Margins and white space

Use standard one-inch margins, but remember that you shouldn't be cramming all of your text into single space to the point where it looks like a block of text in jibberish. White space is important, it makes it neat and readable. Include it and if it means your resume ends up going a little bit over one page, that's OK. Once your resume gets to two pages, that's when you need to start chopping.

9. Name your file accordingly

If you name your file "resume.docx," guess what... it's gonna get lost. If you name your file "firstname_lastname_resume.docx" then when it comes time to pull resumes for interviews, people are gonna be able to find it easier.

10. Save it in every format imaginable

There's nothing more terrifying than the thought of having to completely redo your resume. All that hard work you put into it and the perfectly crafted descriptions disappearing is my personal worst nightmare.

Save it as a .PDF, copy it onto a flash drive and email it to yourself.

Note: Take my tips with a grain of salt. I'm not a hiring manager. I don't know everything that goes on behind the scenes. This is what I have been told, and what I've researched. Remember that every position and field will expect different things. When you're more experienced and an expert in your field, it will be different.

Related Content

Facebook Comments