Lesson No. 1: So, You Want to be a Teacher and Editor?

Welcome to the “Teaching and Editing Internship.” In the next few months, you will familiarize yourself with foundational resources, pedagogies, standards and tools in teaching and editing the craft of writing. In these months, you will read a great deal of information and interact with many people, and this will give you an effective start, but remember, teaching and editing, just as writing, is a life-long craft and must be studied with great care and respect.

Great writing does not a great teacher and editor of writing make. Teaching is its own craft. Editing is its own craft. Both include measurable facets; however, they also engage a level of artistry that comes with years of experience. Just as a writer spends years developing her/his own organic voice, so will the teacher and editor. If you are not ready to delve into these separate arts, apart from your own writing goals, then truly ask yourself if you want to teach and edit. It is okay, if not. But if you do make the choice to engage with students and other writers, you are taking on a great responsibility, and you must be willing to put your own writing goals and preferences aside so that you can focus on the talents and potentials of your students and writers. If you are committed to doing this, great. Let’s get started.


Remember, There Is Another Person & Developing Talent at the End of Your Comments

Above all else, it is important to remember that all writers and students are developing their crafts. 

Below is a copy of a rejection letter sent from an editor at The Atlantic Monthly to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. who had submitted a work on Dresden. Reading famous rejection letters, years later, can keep things in perspective for not only writers but also editors and teachers. Don’t forget. There is another person on the end of your critiques, comments and rejections, and if that person is dedicated to her/his craft, s/he will write a better work tomorrow. 


Vonnegut Atlantic Monthly Rejection



Editors on Editing: Teachers of writing are also editors. Let’s begin there. Below you’ll find a helpful list of resources for critical theory, writing the other, linguistics, editorial organizations, citation resources and more. This week, we’re going to read Editors on Editing, in which a number of highly successful editors from both large houses and small presses consider their crafts as editors. 


Writing Exercise

  1. After reading Editors on Editing, go to Publisher’s Marketplace and research books and the publishing houses that bought them. Decide on three publishing houses for which you would most like to work. Then rework your current resume and make your “dream resume.” Add experience, organizations and skill sets that you most want to attain within the next five years. Highlight the added “dream” items. Be specific. Do you want to learn Adobe skills? HTML? Are you more interested in MLA, APA or Chicago formatting? Research your favorite publishing houses and try to figure out, best you can, what they want from new editors. 
  2. If you haven’t already, visit the publishing house websites and look for “job openings.” What qualifications do they want?
  3. Now, from the three favorite publishers, choose your absolute top choice and further research the publishing house. Find the HR contact person. Write and address your “dream” cover letter for this publisher.
  4. Attach your cover letter in the Comments area if you would like to share it with other interns. 
  5. Submit your cover letter and resume to faculty by clicking the “View Lesson Quiz” button.



Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Peter Barry.

Cite Right, Second Edition: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More. Charles Lipson.

Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP).


Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Stephen Eric Bronner.

Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Lois Tyson.

The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. David H. Richter.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to PunctuationLynne Truss.

Editors on Editing. Gerald Gross.

A Handbook to LiteratureWilliam Harmon.

Literary Theories and Schools of Criticism. Purdue Online Writing Lab. 

The Norton Anthology of World Literature: Literary TermsW. W. Norton & Company.

The Norton Introduction to Literature. W. W. Norton & Company.

Publisher’s Marketplace.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them. Francine Prose. 

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plan English: Third EditionPatricia T. O’Conner.

Women in Literary Arts (VIDA).

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.

Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl, Cynthia Ward.