A year before he died, Hunter S. Thompson requested my phone number.
It was 11 p.m. when I received the message from documentary filmmaker Wayne Ewing, who lived four blocks away from me during the part of the year that he wasn't living next door to Thompson in Woody Creek, Colorado.
I had written an article about his film Breakfast with Hunter and my most important literary influence wanted to discuss it. Crap. Did he like it? Would he be critical? I gave my number to Ewing and paced and perspired until the wee hours when I finally surrendered to my pillow.
The call never came. Later, when I heard the news of Thompson's suicide I was devastated and sent a note of sympathy to Ewing. His response, dated Feb. 24, 2005, 7:17 a.m. was as follows:
“The reason Hunter wanted your phone number last year was to thank you for the excellent job you did reviewing Breakfast with Hunter and to compliment the quality of your writing. I am sorry that the two of you never actually connected on the phone, but Hunter truly appreciated your work.”
Noms de Plume
An editor once called me an edgy chick. I took it as a compliment. Having high standards, for myself and those I'm collaborating with, can be a double edged sword as it sometimes requires a take-no-prisoners posture but the result is always worth the pain. Craaack!
I christened myself the Serial Comma Killer around 2005 when I was excused from a proofreading job because I used the AP style guide rather than the APA. Needless to say, all those naughty serial commas met their due, and so did I.
Everyone needs an editor
Lean protein and low fat isn't just good for the human heart, it's essential to strong prose. Think of your editor as a personal trainer; without one, you may lose a few lbs, tone a muscle — or pull one. With one, you'll command attention.
The importance of effective and precise communication cannot be overstated. Many fancy themselves writers, and many are, but all those who put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard should experience the benefits of good editing. An extra pair of eyes is always a good idea, but what's crucial is that they belong to a professional.
Every day, I see evidence of poor editing and/or lax proofreading. I see it in press releases, blog entries and correspondence. I see it in TV commercials, major network newscasts and marketing collateral. I see it especially on websites.
Enlisting the services of an editor is more affordable than you may realize. Whether you own a retail business, work in a service industry or are pounding out your memoirs, presenting yourself in your best light will set you apart from your competition, and help you gain the respect you desire.