Shit editors say


Oh editors. In my short career as a writer, I’ve worked under managing editors, copy chiefs, and executive directors that have killed my darlings and burned my ego. But they’ve made me a better writer along the way. So whether you love or hate your editor, or whether you’re one yourself, this list should elicit a sigh of familiarity.

  • This lead sucks
  • Tighten it up for fuck’s sake, this isn’t a feature for the New Yorker.
  • We could make it a roundup.
  • We could make it a top ten.
  • We could do a quarterly highlight.
  • Sorry, I’m just adhering to AP style.
  • I don’t care if the acronym is shorter, no alphabet soup!
  • That headline doesn’t tell me anything about the story.
  • And you double checked the spelling? Check it again, you can’t be too careful with a printed piece.
  • Just put together some copy, less than 200 words.
  • You forgot to add tags.
  • Check for broken links.
  • Just use a pull quote.
  • Has this copy been approved by your source?
  • Maybe get a quote.
  • Factual edits only, please.
  • I do love that stock image, but it’s too punchy, just use an image of a handshake or something.
  • Sure, but what’s the call to action?
  • It’s a nice evergreen piece.
  • Fuck your press release.
  • Clearly this isn’t written for the web.
  • If you want it to appear in this month’s issue, I need the copy by Friday.
  • I cut it way down.
  • Too late, no more changes
  • No that’s fine, I’ll just give it to a freelancer.
  • Ugh, their website looks like shit
  • Add a subhead.
  • That would make a great sidebar
  • Get rid of that teaser text
  • Don’t worry, I’ll leave your name in the byline.
  • Does this need a photo credit?
  • That’s it, I have HAD IT with em dashes. Vary your punctuation people.
  • I don’t care if Obama himself is giving the keynote address, I’m not including that bullshit event.
  • I’ll just take a large coffee.
  • The message is getting lost under all this copy, rethink the entire thing.
  • Just massage it a little bit.
  • Inventory what’s there.
  • What did we do last year?
  • And you send this at 4:30 on a Friday? What the fuck, man?
  • We talked editorial over lunch, so technically it was a working lunch.
  • My CS5 is being wonky.
  • What’s AP style for “clusterfuck?”
  • Punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. This isn’t the UK.
  • Are you making a coffee run?
  • Happy hour?
  • Hang on, let me check the Ed cal. Dammit, who has the Ed cal open?!

What shit does your editor say? Leave your editor-isms in the comments.

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