Up to you!

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Graphic of a crossed sword and a pencilUp to you? What is up, and why do I leave it to you?

It’s a not-uncommon phrase I use in my comments when editing, and I wanted to talk a bit about it, as it can probably come off as passive-aggressive without an explanation.

Here we go. Ready? Buckled in? Braced? Hands inside the roller coaster?

Nah, it’s not that bad.

I make changes in your manuscript. That’s what you’ve hired me to do. They’re fixes, really, for grammar or readability (and, as an aside, if you ever want to know why, ASK ME! The best editing happens when we can trust each other, but also when I can help you grow as a writer.), and most of them aren’t negotiable.

So when something is, I like to let you know. Up to you.

But I won’t just point it out. Please. Zero context can be an awful thing. Instead, I’ll explain. You can just word it this way because [insert phrase] is implied by [this action]. The reason it’s up to you is that maybe it fits your authorial voice. Maybe it helps the rhythm of the sentence. Maybe you simply are more comfortable with the bit of extra words. Whatever the reason, it’s yours and you get to choose. In these instances, I’m truly letting you make your choice. It is, after all, your book, your baby, your creation. I’m here to make it better, not to override you. Well, unless your grammar sucks, your commas aren’t quite the work of art they need to be, or something doesn’t read right.

Up to you.

Don’t cringe when you see that. It’s a good thing. It means you are ready to stop and really think about the words on the page. It means you’re upping your craft.

Reaching that stage is, also, up to you.

As always, remember that if you need my editorial skills, I’m here. Reach on out.

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