Boogie Nights
Porn is a multi-billion-dollar industry. These days, it should come as no surprise, the biggest chunk of that pile of money comes from Internet porn. One wonders how much more money might be made if those online porn rascals bothered to learn spelling and grammar.

One pornographic video site that I … heard about from a friend ... states plainly that “Every photos in tour done freely you precisely will discovering members of a part we do not deceive you, every photos really is in members and even more!!!” Well, that’s … reassuring. I suppose we should be thankful they spelled “deceive” correctly.

Well everyone complains about the weather, I hear you all say, but no one does anything about it. Why doesn’t Solidus jump in and offer to fix these sites? I’ll tell you why.

Years ago, I applied for a proofreading position working on a website whose name has no place in polite company. The concept was that the site would review adult toys and videos, and I would proofread the reviews. I spoke to the site owner and asked him to send me some sample text from the site so I could show him my editing skills. 

“No,” he told me. “I’d rather meet you in person.” 

I asked him for the company address. He gave it to me, but it didn’t come up on Google Maps. 

“Oh, yeah, it won’t,” he told me. “It’s not an actual address. Look for a brick building, and it’s the unmarked black door around back.” 

With visions of Pulp Fiction dancing in my head, I told him thanks but no thanks. So yeah, proofreading porn is not a road we’d care to go down.

Heh. I said “go down.”

By Steve Boudreault

Solidus Editorial Solutions Generations
Early on in my editorial career, I would start at a company and invariably my colleagues would be either my age or older. Considerably older. That huge age gap never really made sense to me, but the dynamic did. There was an older generation of editors and we were coming up behind them. Circle of life.

Now that I'm in the middle of my career -- or possibly toward the end, nothing in life is certain -- I can't help but notice that there isn't a new crop of editors coming of age behind me. The only young editor I've encountered in the past few years is the talented Katie Ells, but she's the exception to the rule. Old editors are retiring and dying off and there aren't nearly enough young folks to replace them. What's the deal?

I can appreciate that it's a very specific calling. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me "Oh, I could never do what you do!" I'd have $5.65. But is it really not calling anyone anymore?

Over the years, I've had several people ask to apprentice with me, and one or two actually completed their training, only to drift away and never be heard from again. Could editorial work really be that unengaging?

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. I know that since Corporate America started circling the drain that a lot of companies have downsized their editorial departments -- some of them right out of existence -- so perhaps the next generation of editors are almost entirely virtual. That would be a mixed blessing. I'd be pleased to know that there are younglings to carry the flame, but what a tragedy that they'll never know the camaraderie, nerdy joy, and heated discussions regarding the English language that only an editorial department has.

Ah, well. I can't force anyone to follow in my footsteps. But if there are any young people just starting out and considering an editorial career, I'll tell you this much -- it's more rewarding than you can possibly imagine

By Steve Boudreault

Solidus Editorial Solutions Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas
At Solidus HQ
And the editors were stirring
With still so much to do

“Look at this shit,” Steve said
With familiar contempt
“They used ‘your’ and not ‘you’re’
In this half-assed attempt!”

“And they made this possessive,”
Said Emily with bite
“It’s like they didn’t even want it
To remotely be right!”

“Oh that’s nothing!” cried Emily.
“Take this line right here.
I’ve never seen anything
That’s quite so unclear!”

The three of them sighed
As they grabbed their red pens
It looked like they’d work
Straight through Christmas again

When suddenly they
Were all bathed in a glow
From a light that shone in
From the fresh fallen snow

And a jolly old elf
Just appeared in their midst
With a giant red bag
He held tight in his fist

“Who are you?” the three said
Though they all had a clue
“Why, I’m Santa!” he laughed
“And I’m here to help you!”

Then he opened his bag
And he pulled forth a book
They knew just what it was
With the briefest of looks

“Dictionaries!” said Santa
“Dictionaries for all!
For the old and the young
For the big and the small!”

“They’ll all learn to spell
Which will lighten your load
And give you all back
The great Christmas you’re owed!”

Then he went up the chimney
And into his sleigh
And he and his team
Flew up, up and away

And Steve looked at Emily
And Emily in turn
And they all shook their heads
They knew Santa would learn

That as nice of a gift
A dictionary would make
The use of it was
A step no one would take

So they all settled back
To their editor tables
And that’s where we end
Our Christmastime fable

They’re thankful for you
And the fact that you read it
But time marches on
And there’s so much to edit

And they need peace and quiet
To get it all right
So Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night!

By Steve Boudreault

Anyone who’s watched football for any length of time has seen the scenario — there are precious few seconds left in the game and the home team is down by one score. The quarterback heaves the ball into the end zone and his receiver has it … and then inexplicably drops it. Time expires, and the game is over.

How does that receiver feel? He’s spent more hours than any of us can fathom practicing that very catch, and now, in front of his friends and family, his teammates and coaches, the fans in the stadium and millions of people watching across the country, he did the one thing that defies logic, odds, and nature itself — he blew it.

Of course you’re going to feel bad for the guy. Even the other team has to feel some shred of sympathy for him. But no one can know the depths of his anger, his frustration, and the wretched shame he has to feel in that moment, and for the days and even weeks to come.

And so it is in the editorial world. Oh, the moment is much less public and there’s a lot less riding on it, but when you’re called out for missing a typo you should have caught or you’re told that what you’ve written was sub-par, it’s a humiliating kick in the crotch that leaves you feeling exactly the way that football player felt. Exactly.

So what do you do about it? The football player — assuming he doesn’t get cut — has no choice but to shake it off and try and do a better job in the next game. But writers and editors don’t have that luxury. Even when the next project comes in — assuming the writer or editor hasn’t been fired — the weight of that mistake hangs like a millstone, and it can take an extraordinarily long time for them to let go. If ever.

Football players at least have teammates to bolster them, calm them, empathize with them, and help them refocus. But writing and editing are both highly solitary vocations, and often when one writer or editor reaches out to another for an ounce of sympathy, they’re met with a dismissive “Well, better you than me, kid.”

Humans are fallible and will always make mistakes. But writers and editors take a great deal of pride in their work, so mistakes for them are exponentially more painful. If you’ve got to call one of them out on something, try to be kind. And some positivity wouldn’t hurt either.

Who knows? One kind word from you and they could be bound for the Super Bowl.

By Steve Boudreault

Solidus Editorial Solutions Trust
One of the toughest relationships to build in the editorial world is the one between the writer and the editor. You would think that two people with a love for the written word would have a natural understanding of one another, but that’s rarely the case. And unless you’ve been on both sides of the fence, it’s really hard to see it from both perspectives. So here’s a little insight.

From the writer’s perspective:
Creating the written word comes easier to some than to others, but generally speaking, writing is tough, arduous (but eminently rewarding) work. Sometimes a writer can spend hours, days, weeks, or an eternity coming up with the exact word, the exact phrase, the perfect sentiment to capture the moment, the feeling, or the subtlety they’re trying desperately to convey. And now along comes an editor, with no knowledge of the roller coaster the writer’s been on, and they hack and slash with their red pen, trying to destroy what the writer worked so long to create. Not only is it infuriating for the writer, it plants the seed of doubt -- after all that, was the passage really crap after all?

From the editor’s perspective:
An editor spends his or her entire life fixing errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The higher level editors spend their lives trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear -- that is to say, taking a batch of copy and doing whatever it takes to give it a logical flow and construction and make it shine. And then invariably the writer steps in and says, “No, we can’t change that. Keep it as it is.” So now, in the middle of a carefully edited and polished piece, is a clunky sentence that stands out like a cockroach on a wedding cake. And who’s going to take the blame when the readership starts stumbling over it? Not the writer, no. They’re infallible. The only question that will be asked is “Why didn’t the editor catch this?”

That’s why trust is so important between the writer and the editor. If they can work together, have a little give and take on what’s really important, what works, and what doesn’t, then everybody wins. Generally speaking, writers aren’t out to vilify editors and editors aren’t out to ruin a writer’s writing. Everyone just wants the best final piece possible. And once trust is established, that’s what everyone gets.

By Steve Boudreault