Secret Editor Skills 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.

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8 Things To Know About The 911 Dispatcher In Your Life

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week


For the first 18 years of my life, all I knew about 911 dispatchers was that they were the voice that came after the tone, from inside the pager on my dad's hip. The voice telling him where to go and for what. I had no idea after I turned 19 that I would soon become one of those voices. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week this year is the week of April 14th-20th. I felt it appropriate to write my article this week focused on that, considering it is such a huge part of my life. For the rest of the world, it is just another week. For us, this is the one week out of the whole year that the focus is on the dispatcher, the one week where we don't feel so self-absorbed about saying what we do is nothing short of heroic. Here are some important things to know about the 911 dispatcher in your life.

1. We worry about you constantly

My biggest fear in this job is picking up the phone and hearing my loved one on the other end. No matter what the circumstance. The map zooms to the area of the county where my family and I reside, and my heart always sinks. I get a giant pit in my stomach because the very real reality is it may be someone I know and love. Don't be annoyed when we call you twice in one day or overly remind you to be safe. We are just always worried about our loved ones.

2. Our attention spans can be short

We are trained to get the pertinent information and details all within a matter of seconds. I can't speak for everyone on this, but I struggle a lot with paying attention when someone is talking to me, please forgive me if it feels as though I've stopped listening after a few minutes. I probably have. I've noticed that I listen very intently to the first couple minutes of a conversation and then my mind trails off. Nothing personal, just habit.

3. We have great hearing and multitasking skills

Most of us anyways. We can hear the person on the phone, the officer on one radio channel and the firefighter on the other, all at once. I have found that this skill comes in handy when trying to eavesdrop, also not as handy when you go out to dinner and can hear all five conversations going on around you. I have yet to master shutting that off when I am not at work.

4. We are hilarious

It could be a combination of using humor to deal with bad situations and spending twelve hours at a time in a little room together. But I think it’s that we are just freaking hilarious, nothing else to it. If you go the whole 12 hours without laughing, you're doing something wrong.

5. We have a very complicated love-hate relationship with our jobs

I love what I do, and I truly believe I was meant to put on that headset. Everything happens for a reason and my education plans out of high school didn't work out because I was supposed to be here doing this instead. I love what I do. I hate it sometimes too though. I remember specifically once taking a phone call about an hour before my shift was done. As soon as I got into my vehicle to go home, I bawled my eyes out and swore to myself that I was never stepping back into a comm center again. I hated my job with a burning passion that day. My next scheduled shift, I went back to work because I love it too. See, it doesn't even make sense it's just complicated.

6. We are tired

Believe it or not, this career can be incredibly exhausting. Someone once told me "You just sit at a desk for twelve hours, that can't be that hard." Physically that's right, we just sit there. Mentally and emotionally the first phone call of the shift can drain you and then you still have a little over 11 hours to go. I won't go into details on that but trust us when we say it was a bad call. We are tired. Some of my days off I just sleep all day not because I'm physically exhausted but because my mind needs that much time to recharge.

7. We are crazy

I really have nothing more to say other than no sane person would be a 911 dispatcher. We are all a little 10-96 in the best way possible.

8. We love harder than most

We love strangers we have never met, we love our officers that piss us off daily over the radio (we piss them off too) and we love our co-workers that drive us nuts sometimes. It takes someone incredibly strong to save a life through the phone and someone even stronger to go back after they didn't. With that strength comes a weakness of vulnerability, we know our hearts will break more often than others, and we still continue to put on that headset to help others. The people with the biggest hearts work in a dispatch center. If you are lucky enough to be loved by one don't take them for granted.

The list could go on and on. Dispatchers possess so many skills and qualities that most people will never acquire in their lifetime. People think 911 and picture the police officer, the firefighter, the paramedic often completely forgetting the 911 dispatcher. For us, that's okay because other than this one week out of the year, we don't expect praise or thank you. When it comes down to it, we love what we do and we would do it no matter what.

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America Is Facing A Shortage Of Doctors, And It's Because How Society Treats Them

The United States severely overwork their residents, who are expected to work 40 to 80 hours a week. This is particularly unacceptable when compared to European residents who work at most 40 hours per week.


You may think, doctors get paid well... really well. Why would we have a shortage if everyone wants to be one?

First, let's break down the "doctors make bank" myth. Physician income varies immensely, depending on the specialty and the region in the United States. A neurosurgeon in Montana is going to make far more than a primary care doctor in New York. This is just basic supply and demand. Then subtract income tax, malpractice insurance, and student debt, and you have a smaller income to live off of. So before you think about pursuing the career for the money, think again.

If you are a pre-med student or know one, then you know how difficult it is to get into medical school in the U.S. The struggle of maintaining a near-perfect GPA during undergraduate school and creating a competitive resume is stressful, not to mention studying for the now eight-hour long MCAT entrance exam. Because medical school is so difficult to get into, the shortage of slots creates insane competitiveness and challenges the security of choosing to go to graduate school.

Medical students are some of the hardest working people I know in my personal life, among many, but they all faced a similar dilemma at some point: do I sacrifice my youth or a stable future? After graduation from medical school, students then work during a period called residency in which they further their experience and prepare to take Step 3, the last board exam. The number of residency positions do not match the number of physicians needed. The United States severely overwork their residents, who are expected to work 40 to 80 hours a week. This is particularly unacceptable when compared to European residents who work at most 40 hours per week.

Our society requires doctors to answer to government mandates, for example, the newly instated EHRs. They have to juggle patients, hierarchy, lack of help, and too many patients. What results is a scary concept of resident physician suicide? Kevin Jubbal, founder of MedSchoolInsiders started a movement called #SaveOurDoctors, promoting better care of those who take care of us.

If we need more doctors, we need to reorganize our healthcare system, and the profession itself. Doctors should not have to sacrifice their lives to save us.

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