Simply put, I want to encourage the process of mutual editing and feedback in the SotA Library. One of the things I've seen here is that many of us enjoy writing for SotA, but very few seem willing to offer constructive feedback to others. Why is that? We know that editing has to be a part of all serious writing. We know that editing can make us better writers. We know that it improves the content that could eventually be offered to SotA. So why is it that we don't see more? I think there are several reasons. Issue #1) We are afraid of insulting the author. Many are not used to receiving constructive feedback and can be sensitive. So instead of trying to offer editing advice in a way that will be received well, we don't do it at all. Issue #2) Editing is a selfless act. In this type of a volunteer situation, editing brings us no personal benefit or glory. You have to do it because you enjoy the process of seeing others improve their work and offer better contributions for SotA. Issue #3) Many don't feel that they know the rules of grammar or the elements of creative writing well enough to offer good feedback. Let me start to encourage you by giving you an example of a simple editing scenario that took place on the Round Table. After this, I will offer some thoughts to try to prompt more mutual editing in the library here. These are the opening sentences to a short story written on our site. Before I explain what the problem is, can you identify it? The escape had gone surprisingly well. As the prisoner dug the last few feet and emerged from his tunnel, he reflected on his life. Answer: Spoiler The use of the past perfect verb tense in the first sentence (had gone) indicates an action completed in the past. However, in the next sentence, the escape is still ongoing. Thus, the first sentence would be better written as: The escape had gone surprisingly well so far. (Use a qualifier.) -or- The escape was going surprisingly well. (Use imperfect tense.) So how do we overcome the three issues mentioned above to make sure SotA gets the best writing possible? Issue #1) I want to give a nod to Karrolanth here. She posted a thread on our site with links to two articles about how to offer constructive feedback. They are: http://www.critters.org/c/whathow.ht and http://www.critters.org/c/diplomacy.ht. If you are unsure about whether an author would appreciate feedback, all you have to do is ask! This is the least intrusive way to begin. Simply ask, "I have some feedback I'd like to offer on your story. Do you mind if I share it with you?" Most of us need to realize that someone taking the time to read, digest, and offer advice on our story is a compliment. If they didn't care about the story, they wouldn't have offered advice in the first place! Authors can also express their willingness to receive feedback in their post. If you are uncomfortable receiving advice in such a public forum, you can always use the Round Table. Issue #2) This is something you have to decide for yourself. Do you have the time to help others? What are your motivations? For me personally, I enjoy seeing others improve and come to realize how good their writing can be. Also, I enjoy editing because it helps SotA have a variety of contributions of outstanding quality. In other words, it makes the game better and more attractive. Issue #3) Even if you've never studied grammar or creative writing in depth, you still have something to offer! Hearing how other people receive our stories (not just positive comments) is always enlightening. Plus, we can all usually spot typos and other obvious mistakes. Pointing these out has a lot of value! In summary, I hope you will consider these thoughts and that we will begin to see more editing right in the library here. I am always willing to offer advice. (I put in the disclaimer that I am not a professional editor.) PM me or visit the Round Table. And share your own thoughts, and maybe edit this post.