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McClaire Tackles Tough Editing Problems

by Don McClaire

Don McClaire tackles tough editing problems, as seen in the following before-and-after example from a recent editing job. The scene takes place between two male friends in a bar. Here's the before:

Hey case and point counselor, remember what we were just talking about well when you go for your beer mug at the bar, slowly look over your shoulder gesturing at a very seductive looking woman at the opposite end of the bar. Now, she looks like she needs some company so I am going to see what I can do to help. Now, my friend she is drinking a beer, so I guess I will be playing pool with her. You're a piece of work; go ahead, do what you got to do. I'll call you tomorrow, but I still love you, don't leave yet. As Rob stands up grabbing the beer mug in his hand, hopefully, she loves me too. But listen, I will prove it to you, if she looks up at me once she's just glancing but if she looks at me twice or the first stare doesn't stop until I pass her line of site well then she is interested and if she is interested, I am going home with her.

See its problems? All the information is there, but it's hard to follow, and is not presented in a way acceptable to a publication's editor. Following is that same passage after McClaire edited it:

Tom sipped his own beer, and wiped foam from his mouth. "Whatever you say, Dude."

"Hey, here's a case in point, counselor. Look at that woman end of the bar. She looks like she needs company, so maybe I'll help her out."

Tom faked reaching for the pretzel dish, and glanced her way.

"See? She's drinking a beer, so I guess I'll be playing pool with her."

Tom stuffed a pretzel into his mouth. "You're a real piece of work, you know that? Go ahead, see what you can do."

Rob stood and grabbed his beer. "Listen—I'll prove it to you. If she looks at me once, she's just glancing. But if she looks twice, or doesn't stop staring until I pass her, she's interested. And if she's interested, I'm going home with her.”