I’m copy editing a story written by an older Wall Street guy with a weekend gig teaching wine classes. His piece is a love story, an ode to his favorite old-school Italian joint in Long Island City, Queens. The love is there, and the passion for good eating, but the writing is shaky.
It’s after midnight, I’ve had some sake sangria, and I’m making deep cuts to the piece. I feel like a surgeon working in delicate territory; for all my broad incisions, I can’t snip out the guy’s original voice. I’ve been known to trample over others’ writing in the past, ultimately making it sound like my own. I want this dude’s writing to be enhanced, not replaced. A good copy editor should polish, not pillage.