Red Ink

In case you’ve ever wondered

What goes on in an editor’s brain,

Her desire to conquer syntax

Can cause an awful strain.


A typo, a misspelling,

A hyphen out of place,

Will etch a deep, deep crease

Upon an editor’s face.

She raises her red pen,

Or taps the delete key;

To her eyes, poor grammar

Seems like profanity.

Telling instead of showing,

A clichΓ© here or there,

And a huge chunk of backstory

Makes an editor pull her hair.

Her mind rebuilds a sentence

Which once ran awkwardly,

For the power of prose is lost

In a segment so wordy.

She yearns to help the author,

To make his message glisten,

In hopes that readers will soon

With rapt attention listen.

As she pauses in her work,

She bows her head in faith,

Praying to the Lord above

For wisdomΒ and strength.

Although her hand is gentle,

And her encouragement heard,

The author sometimes rejects

Her suggestions as absurd.

Change often hurts and stabs;

It’s tempting to resist pain,

But a person stuck in old ways

Won’t discover what is to gain.

For stories are like people,

With God as editor divine;

His Word pierces hearts

So that the light of Christ may shine.

Whether writer or editor,

The calling is the same:

To lead others to the Lord,

And glorify His name.

Profile photo of Brianna Storm Hilvety
Brianna was born with a rumble in her veins. She finds the tap of a keyboard to be soothing like the pitter-patter of rain. She has been a writer for a decade, a freelance editor for a few years, and a bibliophile from the moment she pronounced her first syllable. Proudly a Silver Member of The Christian PEN, she serves on their team as Graphics Coordinator. She exudes her passion for speculative fiction and helping young writers by being an Associate Editor at Castle Gate Press and the Copy Editor/Director of Graphics for Kingdom Pen. When she isn’t poring over words, she may be spotted shooting her Canon, riding The Breeze (an all-terrain vehicle), or romping with her dog, Zookie. Purple is her signature color, and she refuses to recognize all other claims to it.
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  1. Wow, I love this poem, Brianna! It’s a perfect mix of funny and profound. πŸ™‚

  2. This is brilliant! Love it!

  3. Ha! I love it. πŸ˜€ Poor editors… there will always be something to drive you crazy.

  4. Oh yeah… kinda glad I’m not an editor. πŸ˜› Love this though, Brianna! Great work!

    • Haha, yeah, it’s not easy being an editor. There are some days when I wonder whether pursuing this profession was a stroke of insanity. πŸ˜› But, for the most part, I love it and am addicted to polishing prose. πŸ˜‰

  5. This is incredible! Though it does make me a little scared of turning my work in to an editor…. πŸ˜‰

  6. I will never look at editors the same way again… πŸ˜€

  7. This make me thinks of Nemo: Fish are friends, not food. Please don’t eat up all the words in a book. πŸ˜›

  8. Heh, I saw the editors-are-friends-not-foes. That’s what made me think of it, then it really got my brain going. πŸ˜›
    Oh, here, I wanted to give this to you. *CONFETTI*

  9. LOL!!! I seriously love this. I also see that confetti has already been thrown so I shall simply present you with this, the red pen of editing masters only to be used by those who are true wordsmiths and grammar wizards. *presents with flourish of cape*

  10. A delightful read, Brianna! πŸ™‚ I personally credit you with changing my entire perspective of editors. I admit I was unpleasantly shocked when I got my first piece back bathed in a sea of red, but now I gladly welcome your invaluable advice πŸ™‚

    • Awwww, that makes me incredibly happy. πŸ˜€ You (and all the writing interns) have been wonderful to work with, and my interaction with you all has taught me some things too. πŸ˜‰

      Christi recently sent me a quote that says, “My life is a constant battle between wanting to correct grammar and wanting to have friends.” At last I seem to have found a place where I can fulfill both yearnings. πŸ™‚ I just love helping talented young authors put forth their best writing to change the world.

  11. A fabulous piece of poetry by the fabulous Brianna Storm Hilvety! And I’ll definitely join in all the love here in the comments section. Brianna, you constantly amaze me. πŸ™‚ Continue writing and editing. I can’t wait to see what you do next. πŸ™‚

  12. I don’t usually read poetry. I only ended up here because the scrolling banner on the homepage tricked me.
    Boy, am I glad it did.
    I love this poem so very much. It’s lighthearted but deep too. Unpredictable, but it also makes so much sense.
    (And also, I think maybe proof-reading some of my submissions may have inspired it, so there’s that. :P)
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hahaha, that’s happened to me more times than I can name! πŸ˜› My Internet (which claims to allegedly be “high-speed”) is more like a hybrid version of dial-up, and often I don’t have the patience to wait for all the sliding images to load. So the one I end up clicking on is usually a luck of the draw.

      I consider that a very high compliment, Brandon! πŸ˜€ Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem enough to continue reading even though you landed on the wrong page. πŸ™‚

  13. Nice poem! πŸ™‚ I really liked the truth of the last two stanzas:

    “For stories are like people,
    With God as editor divine;
    His Word pierces hearts
    So that the light of Christ may shine.”

    “Whether writer or editor,
    The calling is the same:
    To lead others to the Lord,
    And glorify His name.”

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