Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)
TITLE: Nia Gets The Boot
By Donna Powers
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Uh, Mr. Con?
That’s Sergeant Con, recruit. And what’s your name?
Nia Phyte, sir.
Call me sergeant.
Yes, Sergeant, sir.
Well, what is it, Recruit Phyte?
How did we get here? I don’t remember signing up for this.
You can’t sign up for this detail, Phyte. God selected you. Only the best recruits get to go to Editor Boot Camp.
Wow, that’s pretty cool.
That’s pretty cool, WHAT?
Uh, that’s pretty cool, sergeant?
That’s right. Anyone else? No? OK. Today, we’re going to do some editor training exercises. Does everyone have your tools? Do you have your thesaurus, dictionary, grammar handbook and lots of sharpened red pencils? Good. Now, look around you. Posted on the walls are 1,000 essays by 8th-graders. Is that groaning I hear? Yes, I know; their grammar and writing skills are horrible. But it’s good training for you. I want all of those essays corrected by 1000 hours.
After that, you’ll move on to editing for content. If you look around you’ll find desks with your names on them. Each desk will contain an essay that has promise, but needs some suggestions from you. I want every one of you to write some suggestions in the margins of those essays– using your red pencils and your clearest handwriting– and get that done by 1300 hours. During that time you will be allowed lunch – at your desks, of course – and a bathroom break, if you need it.
Last for today, you will go to the front of the room and take a pile of papers from the officer in charge. Those will be your “slush pile”: a pile of stories submitted by hopeful writers. Most of the stories will be useless or hopeless– but every pile will have at least one guaranteed winner; a story that could be turned into a publishable article with your help. I want you to find that one article and turn it in – with suggestions for how it can become publishable. Get that done by 1600 hours.
All right, recruits. You know what to do. Now, get moving. What was that, Recruit Phyte? Did you have a comment? Recruit Phyte? … Phyte?
Nia sat up in the bed; her heart racing. Oh, thank God; it was all a dream. She wasn’t at some crazy boot camp. She was safe, at home, and she hadn’t even started her new job as an editor. She was sure the real experience would be much less harrowing. But tomorrow morning before work, she'd say an extra prayer for God’s guidance anyway. After all, if the dream was even partly true, she’d have her work cut out for her.
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