How Editors Know if Your Writing Is Good

Editors want to be sucked into a story, and they can usually tell after just a few lines if that's likely to happen. Writers and editors Victor Dwyer and Charlotte Gill were at The Banff Centre as the Literary Journalism program's editors. They sat down with Ian Brown to talk about modern writing in 2014. Follow the Banff Centre: Facebook: Twitter: Website:

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Great writing is writing that makes you nearly lose the ability to tell reality from fantasy. The story becomes as real as the world around you. One day I'll be world famous for my writing.
Do you know what is more valuable than gold?A good book.
Kind of mushy. These people are supposed to be giving advice, but they don't really know what they want to say.
Just don't let the pressure of living up to "writer identity" overtake you. Your worth isn't contingent on whether or not you're a succesful writer. Your worth is beyond talent or success; the validation of literary praise is welcome but don't make it your pride-supply. You serve the craft; the craft doesn't serve you. And the craft, in turn, serves others. C.S. Lewis said it well: "Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words." ^^
I just want the next wave of famous books to come out already
"People don't want to pay anymore". Same in the music industry. It seems that art is losing ground all around.
Then why are so many published works so dull?
I knew for a fact before I even clicked on this video that these people would hate me.
If good writing is what sells books then Twilight/Harry Potter/ Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn't have made their authors any money at all..... The mass of readers are not interested in correct punctuation, well crafted characters, balanced story telling, or subtle sub text... We live in a time when everything is dumbed down and writing is no different - the most successful books of the past 20 years have been pretty badly written tripe.
She meant FICTION at :30 right??????
I read the first few pages of presumably edited published books at the grocery store all the time which are just crappy
Whew! The tension!
Literacy is not synonymous with authorship
Interviewer wanted to talk about himself quite a bit here
It's ironic to me that Victor Dwyer, an editor, is sooooo wordy.
Very enjoyable and insightful
I don't click on something if the title is obviously click bait. It shows me the lack of integrity of the creator of the thing, and I won't support that.
Kind of ironic that the title of this is clickbait. it's not really about what the title is at all
What a shame the book writers and so called intellectual are also talking more about web than papers. and this shows the literary world and publishers are working.
Argh, how stuffy. You can live for a couple of months on 15 grand?? What on earth are you buying? I'm going back to the real world now.
Unfortunately for the interviewer, modern technology has created a media algorithm that knows more about an individual that you know. I work with such a company. A 19 year old girl had googled milk and a rare chemical... and she started receiving ads for pregnancy. Her father found out and contacted google who contacted us as he was complaining, and angry that his daughter was getting all this pregnancy info. We told google, who told the dad, that she should get a pregnancy test, regardless of the fact that she'd done that search for a college freshman science paper. She was pregnant.
It's about the energy created by presenting something that must be resolved. The question or tension then drives the story forward.
The concept of placing your stories for clicks on a newspaper webpage is ancient in concept. Now it is to deceminate the stories on the social platforms with granular social engineering adjusting the title summary image to be most appealing to the end consumer/user. This is evolving to the point now that the original story content is also being adjusted to suit the needs of industry and user preferences based off of complex meta data analysis. This process is becoming more nuanced and sophisticated as the cost from large scaled networks is creating economies of scale in regards to content manipulation. In fact the process is approaching the point to which the writer for most realtime feeds will be AI automated or assisted to a large degree. This is in keeping with granular marketing and behavioral programming and will lead to many interesting developments in society such as nation state network firewall protection for advesarial groups with AI backends
The times have changed and digital content is now king, for better or worse. I say let's create digital platforms that publish works of high caliber. As readers, let's click on quality and not on meaningless fluff.
It bothers me that plastic and visual artists can get away with ANYTHING because art, but writers MUST be edited. Yes, there are those (renown ones with long and prosper careers) who would read like an eight year old at best, but still...
It seems to me that editors are making the same mistakes as politicians and are failing to spot the many Trump's rising up to eat them. Editors have dictated how authors MUST write or they will not publish them. That means that every book out there is not really the authors book. Their book is the editors book. Everything about it, apart from the story, has been dictated to you as an author. As a result, all books, like all cars, are starting to look the same because of the tyranny of the wind tunnel of someone else's idea of what it should be.  As a result you are reduced to trying tricks -- like writing the novel backwards -- to try and inject something of you into your work. In the meantime, the reading public are starting to get sick of the formulaic shit being published, as well as the corruption among journalists currently infecting the industry -- but that's a whole different subject -- and are looking elsewhere for good writers who put the story above the style, grammar and even the punctuation. If the author comes close to getting those things right, that is good enough. Editors cannot abide that. They want the author to be so perfect that they don't actually have to edit anything. The problem is, that perfection is major, boring, crap. Try wading through Robert Ludlum's incredibly long winded, repetitive, over blown and three times longer than it should be, "The Bourne Supremacy" or anything by Peter Robinson which is really left wing propaganda disguised as a novel. Ludlum could fill 900 pages with the word "shit", repeated over and over again and his publishers would still have published it because it was shit written by him. Robinson is loved purely because he is left wing. His skill and talent has nothing to do with it. He's a darling and gets published because he thinks and writes like a Guardian newspaper journalist. The snobbery of editors based on years of tearing the hearts out of good and bad writers just because they could and slaughtering them, not just with rejection slips but cutting remarks in included letters, is close to being utterly rejected by authors and public alike. I wrote a novel and sent it to 324 people. I asked them for their opinion and told them not to be polite. 201 were positive. Of the 201, 2 had actually met me. The novel was rejected by the publishing companies 9 times and never published. Even though two thirds of the public that read it, loved it. I am now working on a way to get my books to the public by cutting out the entire publishing industry all together. If I can make it work and I think I might, editors are going to get one huge rejection slip from the public (I can think of no group more deserving) and authors will finally be judged, not by some tin-pot god in an office, but by his customers.    The people have tasted boring publishing for decades. The time for something new is now. People will return to reading books once the fuckwit publishing houses and their fuckup editors are out of the way and their formulas can finally die.
Don't know much about editing, but very interesting talk.
For more GREAT editing tips watch... and be sure to like & subscribe. Thanks a million!
Great video, thanks !, I subscribed. Get Paid to Write at Home: ?
Golden?! Winters there are quite hospitable actually! Beats Eastern Ontario by far.
By the middle of this interview everyone became very irritated with each other. If that's their world, I'm going to stay far away from it.
I was surprised how pretentious these people are. The simple fact is that writers want to engage readers quickly and then sustain that engagement. Do that and you can avoid the pain of watching these people pontificate in such a non-engaging way.
The question is answered in the first couple minutes. The rest is talking about the novel/journalism industries and whatnot. I'm out of here.
Complains about click-bait, has a click-bait title on the video to draw in viewers only to scorn them for clicking on click-bait
Lmao omg the look on Charlotte's face when Victor talks about some of the stuff he does. Especially when talking about the word pay rate and patron stuff. She likes him as much as I do.
Just because something is "on the internet," it doesn't mean that it WASN'T edited. Surely people throw stuff on the web all the time without editing it, but you can't globally say that if it's on the web, then it hasn't been edited.
All you have to do is read the latest top books (same goes with movies) to realize that it has become a good old boys and girls club.I personally look to Amazon and self publishers for my reading these days. Regarding movies, there are tons and tons of great independent films and short films on you tube.Independent books and film take away the limitations of only getting the editors likes and dislikes. (That being said, these two seem like fair and likable folks)
How editors know if your writing is good: "I don't know, it's really just an instinct." This video is profoundly useless.
These people are why there is nothing unique being published
That middle guy seriously needed to just have a drink of water and there was enough provided, an entire jug.
This is crazy all over the place -- cringeworthy elitism and poor communication, so ironic lol
Did she say a piece of non fiction?
23" - The craving of writing will stand.
Such a big subject but I thought they covered it quite well. Raised perhaps more questions than had answers but still interesting. I still can't understand how a book like ulysses could be classed in academic circles as a classic when I don't believe more than 10 people in the world have actually read it. But you've got to have it on your bookshelf for academic street cred. Thought they could have talked about censorship a bit. In the end editors are useful for starting out writers because sometimes writers may not be able to see the wood for the trees but the writer as someone said should over time learn to develop his inner voice whether it is popular or even good.
Click bait is not a new phenomenon, newspaper headlines were very deliberately written to grab people's attention. And it's not like newspapers weren't worried about their sales and TV programs about their ratings. Every form of entertainment wants to get as much attention from the public as possible.
She meant fiction................
I've noticed a tremendous decline in article writing quality in the last 10 years. So many spelling and grammar errors, even on the newspaper sites. Not sure about the print version. Just another sign that the end is near! This video is not about "good writing", it's about the collapse of the writing industry thanks once again to the internet.
Clickbait is absolut sh*** But Newspapers need money..i guess
I've heard so many CBC radio "stories" about how Research in Motion is a tanking company, then a short time later many top of the hour news "stories" talking about the newest iphone about be released. It hurts! Yer damn right advertisers get in there.
OMG, Ian Brown. The first job of the writer is to use his/her own taste and measure their writing against some internal critic. Whether it sells or not has nothing to do with it. Think Van Gogh. And probably Homer. Why are you mixing up writing with capitalism?
Anyone else notice how right at the beginning the lady mis-speaks when she says 'When I'm reading a piece of non-fiction' and goes ontoexplain she wants to be drawn into the world with the characters etc? Fiction...it's funny she was so snobby and made a silly mistake and no -one corrected her? It's like they all feel awkward and didn't want to be rude by pointing it out lol
To the question about whether a book is great because it's read by a LOT of people: There are more people eating McDonald hamburgers that Filet Mignon - but does that make it "good cooking"?
I had a friend who confidently and regularly quoted Yahoo...for her news/intellectual discussion. (Notice the past tense.)
"Funner" - Ugh, and he's a judge of writing!
Such snobs
Lets say you take a ride in a police car in The capital of Venezuela, and you would be overwhelmed by the different look Now, let's say you are made to live immediately in this city. You have a small apartment,you need to work shop and integrate into the community. But....life for you. Will eventually become terrifying.
A book is a product like a shirt or a car. The conceit of writers is irrelevant.
Nice
I have trouble believing either these characters would allow a book through that was extremely well written and powerful but didn't fit their political agenda. What if a brilliant writer wanted to write a story where the protagonist is straight white man with a successful family and four children and there was no "dark side" to this? Never get published, regardless of any other considerations.
Damn that lady is FINE as hell
I enjoy watching Stephan King's speaking because it seems he doesn't have a stick-up his.... It seems their is lack-of and holding-back to want the audience to really, really, really like me. However, I took some points from it.
Charlotte Gill is drop dead beautiful. (Sorry, Charlotte.)

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How Editors Know if Your Writing Is Good