Analog editor Trevor Quachri is a hoopy frood. He really knows where his towel’s at. I heap this praise on a man I’ve never met and on whom I’ve been waiting for five months to hear back on a story submission because in his editorial in the March edition, he proposes a zeroth law of editorship. Never mind what the laws are, I’m just chuffed he went all-in and used zero-based indexing.
Well okay, the laws are pretty good too. They are:
- First: An editor must select the best material available.
- Second: An editor must improve the selected material.
- Third: An editor must, encourage authors who aren’t currently providing material usable to the market.
- Zeroth: An editor must provide a public face for the market and communicate its tone
It’s interesting that he calls these laws instead of roles or responsibilities or duties. I think this choice tells us something about how he sees himself in relation to a magazine and tradition that stretches back for most of us were born. I think he might have called them commandments, but didn’t want the Cecil B Dem ille overtones.
Anyway, I’m sure when he got through the first three, a forth occurred that seemed more fundamental than the others, and he sorted it in in-situ to avoid redrafting the piece. Or maybe he thought “zeroth” conveyed and amplified the thought in a pleasingly useful way. Or maybe he’s a C++ guy from way back, and that’s just the way his noggin rolls.
Doesn’t matter. It worked, and it’s a wonderful example of how the details of writing and shape and hone the message.
P.S. Thanks, Brad for the comp copy. I can’t wait to dig into your story.