The golden way of editing ... Or is there one?


For my major, Creative Writing, I have to take not only literature courses but theory and writing classes as well. When I get my BA, it will be in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, so I technically have to take the English classes that, say, a major in English literature would, but I will also be taking theories of writing and other writing classes, such as plays, fiction, and poetry. Those would be the upper division courses.

As for screenplay being a part of Creative Writing, it depends. It may be its own major, or it may be offered as a part of film studies. This depends on the college/ university.

The fiction class I took wasn’t about writing whatever we wanted: it was about how to construct a story and how to tell it well. My professor pointed out that not every popular book is written well.

He didn’t teach us to imagine a new world, but he taught us how to get that world onto the paper. Work-shopping was a major part of the class, so after we wrote our short stories or paragraphs, whatever was assigned, as a class we read each other’s works and gave constructive criticism. He pushed us to not write cliche genre fiction, but to present our world in our own voice and perspective. He also taught the poetry class in the same fashion.

Many of the past authors had access to literature that was considered part of the ‘greats’ in their time. They also practiced their writing, and they honed their skill. Jane Austen, for example, wrote skits for her family when she was younger, and she spent a lot of time in her father’s library. Charles Dickens worked as a reporter for a while. Shakespeare went to grammar school and learned the classic languages. Chaucer was familiar with the works of popular and famous writers in his day. J.R.R. Tolkien was a professor in Old and Middle English and a part of a literary group which included C.S. Lewis. The past authors not only had innate skill, but they had to practice to get better, to see which method worked for their writing, their era, and their audience. One of my favorite poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was composing poetry before he attended school. He did, however, have a pre-grammar school education from his father.

Sorry if I seem to have rambled on, I got carried away :sweat_smile:



I know @sonmachinima would also benefit a lot from taking a Creative Writing course online. They have a free trial with this link. Check it out.


Thanks for your insights and explanations :slight_smile:

Did your professor mention why or how some modern books get popular even when they are not well written?

Do you also discuss the aspects when or why a book gets popular?

I think it’s an important aspect that you mentioned about the authors of the past who did read a lot and are self taught in a way then :slight_smile:


We discussed that when we were on the topic of cliches in writing. He said that the authors can get lazy and use vocabulary an phrases that the reader already knows and maybe even likes. The plot line and the characters may be amazing, but they way in which the story is written isn’t something fresh or new. My professor liked to tell us to ‘trust the reader.’ There is nothing wrong with some tropes, but the way they are presented could be different.

We didn’t discuss the aspects of modern popular books, but we looked at examples of excellent fiction from past writers such as Ernest Hemmingway and Anton Chekhov. Another short story writer whose works I enjoy reading would be Raymond Carver. I found his way of telling the story to be realistic and touching. Granted, short story writing is a little different than writing novels, but many of the techniques are the same.

Here is our book that we used during the fiction class if anyone is interested:
Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern. There is a pdf version online if anyone wants to read it. I found this book extremely helpful and rather easy to learn. In fact, I may go and read through it again because I am currently struggling on writing dialogue in my story.

Yes, I believe that reading and then applying certain techniques from other writers is a great learning tool for one’s own writing. The reader gets exposure to different ways of telling a story, to different types of characters, to different places, etc., and he/she then can experiment with those different ways in his/her own writing.


Creative Writing is more on how to write in a way that the reader keeps on continuously reading the story, whether we like the ending or not, the fact is that if the reader kept reading that story, the writer was creative enough to keep you/me/readers reading his story until the very end. That doesn’t make the writer a bad writer. What it means is you/I don’t like the writings (stories) that these specific people/writers wrote. ‘‘The proof is in the pudding’’ the millions earned by ppl. buying these books proves that many others like the author’s writing/stories no matter how much many others won’t buy the books they have written because they don’t like them.

Different taste in us humans (to each its own saying), in what we/they like to read,and what makes a book very popular. Just because you don’t like any of the books/stories this specific author wrote doesn’t mean he’s not a good modern writer and millions of other people who buys them prove that to everyone/us.

For example in my case, Agatha Christie it’s so popular all over the world and her books no sooner it hits the shelf they are empty in minutes, but yet, I don’t like them, and as soon as I read the intro of the story I put it down. It just means that in my case, her style of writing to me is boring, and in my opinion too descriptive (the car was doing a curb on a hill and this writer described almost every inch of what happened during that zig zagging). I analyzed that I’m too anxious to get to the point of the scene so her stories may be #1 sellers but to me are too long and I don’t like that so I won’t read her books.

Although she’s not a modern writer I set her as an example because we all know she’s a famous writer with millions in her bank to prove so, but I can’t say she’s a bad writer bc she’s too descriptive in the scenes and that’s so boring to me.

I noticed sometimes you sound upset about certain things I/others write and you are entitled to do that, as long as you don’t criticize what others like/dislike or get upset because they don’t like what you like. When we make a statement is good to start with in my opinion… That is why I feel creative writing opens your eyes to another new world. Hope you look into that.


True, good writing can be subjective. A friend of mine loves Ernest Hemingway’s stories, but personally, I find his style of writing too dry for my taste. I do acknowledge that he has talent and is a great writer, but I do not like his style. Another example would be Charles Dickens. I read his book David Copperfield in my senior year of high school and I rather enjoyed it. My English teacher, however, did not. She felt it dragged on and on. His style of writing appeals to me.
I tend to stay away from popular modern books, so I can’t really bring up any examples of modern day books, except for books that I read in elementary, middle, and high school.


I used to be an avid reader but I noticed that unlike the old time where I could devour a book in just hours (when I liked the story) I was having difficulty following up the story and had to read some of the paragraphs twice to understand certain things (that was a painful shock to me) and I practically stopped reading like I used to. Little did I know back then, that I had Lupus for years and left untreated one of the things it can affect is your memory retention (and many other organ part of your body of course).

Sadly, the treatment that was helping me deal with the pain, was leaving me blind so I had to stop the medication after a few months. Right now, I’m so scared to go blind (a side effect to many patients) that I rather deal with the pain, and take one day at a time. I do take a weekly treatment at a chemo clinic, and so far is going on for a year exactly today October 5th. It keeps me walking/alive and that’s good enough for me. lol


Oh my, that’s awful! I really hope you get better. I’m glad that the treatment is working for you, please keep on going strong and healthy. Hwaiting!

I was just like you, able to finish a book in a short amount of time. I used to read hours everyday, anywhere, and at any time. When I was 16, I started noticing that I got headaches when looking at the screen and that my vision was getting blurry after reading for an hour. After I got glasses, I stopped reading as much as before. Even now, I don’t read as much or as long as before, which I feel is a shame, but what can I do? When I watch dramas or movies, I always work on a crochet project or some sort of needlecraft so that I am not staring continuously at a screen and hurting my eyes. I also try to limit watching videos on my phone. I used to watch a lot of Viki dramas on the small screen, and my eyes couldn’t handle that.


Hello, I am new to the discussion board. I am Puerto Rican fluent in english, Spanish, and ASL. I just registered just to write this random post. I didn’t know under which category to post, but I want to sincerely say thank you to all volunteers who take time to create english subtitles. I am profoundly deaf, and without you all taking time out of your busy schedule I would not be able to enjoy dramas on Rakuten Viki, as well learn more about the beauty of Taiwanese, Korean, and other cultures. Yes, maybe the subtitles at times are not perfect, but I am able to grasp the meaning to enjoy. Truly thank you all so much! Know that your time, and work you put in as a volunteer is truly appreciated. Many blessings, luck, and may much happiness come your way.



That was very thoughtful of you. Thank you on my part, and I also know from all the volunteers here at Rviki. Words of appreciation like yours is what makes the volunteers motivated to continue their volunteer work here at viki.


When it comes to editing a drama, I just realized how difficult it is to be able to memorize or know when to address characters as formal or informal. Some moderators make a spreadsheet that never works bc there are so many ppl. in the drama that you can’t possibly memorize who is who and how they speak to each other formal/informal.

I was working in a drama where the main guy is married to the main girl (INFORMAL)
But in the future they are both professionals that don’t know each other and treat each other (FORMAL). Thank goodness I could differentiate that in the drama but other times I can’t even tell (except (informal)older/young(formal).

I ask myself if there’s an easier way to be able to keep up with that formal/informal part without looking at a spreadsheet

@Bozoli suggested an ABCDEF>>>>> format, and I saw it as a good way but in the case of this future/past drama won’t work. I like when they use to add just the picture of the actor/actress (no names), and the made arrows with the words Actor A Formal>>>>>>>Informal Actress. I feel bad that I myself mixed up the formal/informal aspect in the dramas.

Any suggestion that are much more SIMPLE? Nothing too cluttered bc is too much to grasp. Thank you.


It depends if you know/watch the show/scene or not. Most dramas have simple structures so it’s easy to see a character’s status. It becomes more difficult with time travelling, scenes of the past and for certain fantasy & historical stories.


Thanks for your thoughts about writing & books & courses. I read your posts but are too busy to reply right now.


Most of the German moderators have a google doc with the cast and if they are speaking informal/formal with each other. This is very useful for those subbers, who doesn’t watch the drama, although most of them watch it. But it’s very time consuming for the moderator to keep this google doc updated, so we have a group chat on Kakaotalk in addition and discuss all those questions immediately. There are always some subbers, who ignore this google doc, so at least it’s a great help for the editor :slight_smile:


If it’s written on a spreadsheet, you don’t have to memorize it, you can have it open and consult it when translating.
The difficult part is for the person making the spreadsheet, how to ascertain which speech style is used.
I can give you a few tips for Korean - for Chinese, maybe someone else can help.

Let’s first simplify by considering only three levels of formality:

CASUAL (banmal):

  • For intimate friends (the ones you grew up with, typically)
  • siblings of the same age or lower age - depending on families, sometimes even slightly older siblings.
  • parents to their children
  • everybody who’s older to children and teenagers (when they don’t know their name, they will typically address them as “haksaeng”, meaning “student”.) Sometimes middle-aged people may also address casually young adults.
  • Boss to younger subordinate. If he’s very low-status, the boss may address him casually even if older than the boss.
  • King to everybody
  • Characters who are very angry and/or are physically fighting often drop formalities. For instance policemen with criminals. You can’t speak politely when saying things like “I’ll teach you a lesson, you #%@5!#!” or “I’ll be sure to send you to rot in prison, you #%@5!#!!”

(It is recognized by the ending -yo)

  • For acquaintances and co-workers of roughly the same age group. They have to specifically discuss dropping the polite form in order to do it, it doesn’t just “happen”.
  • For people in a flirting relationship and most of the time even when they have kissed or even went to bed together (as an Other Language moderator I don’t follow this. The moment they kiss and make their relationship official, I drop the formalities in my language).
  • Married couples of an older generation (over 40) also use this. In “Encounter”, the couple dropped the polite address only on the very last minute of the last episode (and, very occasionally, in a couple of other instances, but only for one or two sentences). In Five Children, even after the couple gets married, she calls him by his office title instead of his given name, and they both use the polite form of speech.
  • In many middle-aged couples, the woman will address her husband politely and he will address her casually. For instance in “Memory”.
  • Children to parents usually use the polite form. My Korean teacher told me that some modern families have dropped this. HOWEVER, once the child is married, he or she starts using the polite form again, because that’s what their spouse will use (to give the good example?). Makes no sense, I know, but … whatever. Your choice if you will follow this in translating, because it sounds weird in our languages.
  • In historical dramas, noblemen to commoners, as would be expected, and also King to everybody else.

It is recognized by the ending -mnida (and -mnikka in the interrogative mode)

  • To elders like grandparents
  • To bosses
  • To complete strangers
  • To the king and royals in historicals

General rule
Older-younger and Higher-lower in status are almost always followed.
But what about if someone is higher in status but lower in age and viceversa? We see this in office dramas, where the CEO is young and cold (because of daddy/mom problems and abduction trauma, not to mention a rare illness).
I have seen that most of the time (not always) status is more important than age. I mean that the boss sometimes speaks casually even to subordinates older than him. Or, if not casually, the subordinate will use formal and the boss polite, so the level difference between them will still be obvious.

If you’re not sure, better play it safe and put formal. You can never go wrong with formal.
If you hear someone referring to the other with the ending -nim (for instance hyeong-nim, sonsaeng-nim, seonbae-nim) then you MUST use the polite form.

Hope this helped.



Does Korean have a difference for “you” form?

(Chinese does but in most cases they use “ni” so if you want to transfer it to e.g. German it’s more about how it’ll be said in German and not in another language besides with e.g. emperors it’s not really in the way how it was originally used. Now in German it is “du”, “Ihr”, “ich”, but in the past kings would have used “we” (for themselves) and “er/sie” instead of “du” for others but that’ll probably too complicated to write and read because most viewers and translators aren’t used to it anymore so it’s more a modern compromise.)


Is the different form “nin” (您) ? I haven’t heard it used that often in a drama. If I watch a Chinese historical drama, the subjects usually refer to the king as your majesty or something.



It does help a lot bc you mentioned something I wasn’t aware of, like when is an older married couple and the wife is formal towards her husband, but he’s informal towards her. I already saved all the info you provided here and will be studying them. Thank you very much.

PS> I honestly hate when I have to go back and forth looking through the spreadsheet to see if I have to add formal or informal to that character. Oddly enough, lately I just leave everyone formal.


I’m guessing that, sadly, this is again a reflection of status. The woman being perceived as of lower status than the man just because of being a woman. (And please note that in “Memory” where I first saw this, the woman was a judge and the man a lawyer, so status-wise she was higher).



It’s even like that in modern age? :sweat:

Yes, it’s nin. The sentence’s construct is often different and sometimes with indirect polite speech. Overall I rarely saw nin being used in Chinese.


It seems that middle-aged couples even today are doing it, especially if the wife is younger than the husband (which used to be the case most of the time). Although it’s not a general rule.