She wanted to make an online zine.
A B C — Anything But Covid.
Hurrah! Brilliant — sign me up!
I submitted a handful of stories. It became clear from my submissions she would rather short, humorous tales, despite never having mentioned that in the brief nor the feedback. By trial and error and her ongoing complaint that no one could write and she had to submit her own stories, I figured the narratives had to be silly, funny, quirky and about half the maximum word length.
In what I can best describe as a surreal children's book, I referenced Yeats' Second Coming — which is not an obscure poem if you actually read poems in the English language. Also the words are so odd they don't occur anywhere else — a Google search will answer your WTF in under ten seconds with the first or second result. But no, she had no idea nor did she try to look it up. There were also a couple of English language grammatically correct 'quirks' she had never heard of and asked me to 'correct'.
She's probably not 16. She's probably 19 or 20. She's definitely American. And she's not as well read or educated in the English language as I am. And I'm dyslexic. Which is... distressing because she's my editor?
Yes, it's an editor's job to question my use of grammar. But I shouldn't have to school my editor on poetry. I will now have to clue her in to the literary hints I dropped from famous pieces and also tell her UK spelling is a real thing, and in short, it's not that I made a mistake, it's that she needs to get out more, listen to how different people speak, and read more books. Poems. Shakespeare. Stoppard. Something.
Also yes, in writing descriptive narrative I occasionally repeat myself or say things that are not necessarily needed. But if you remove them from the sentence, how does the sentence sound when you say it out loud? Unbalanced, and a bit shit, that's what. You think I don't know I put extra words in there? It's the rhythm of it. Read it aloud like you were doing the voices reading a bedtime story to a child.
FFS. READ IT ALOUD. PROPERLY. Like an actor. Or a person with a sense of linguistic rhythm, if you can at least manage that...
I dunno, I'm annoyed. I've had years of battling dyslexia and of my father correcting my grammar like he's a Victorian school master, cane in hand. I don't like discovering that an editor's English literary and linguistic knowledge is not as good as mine. That's just depressing.