Inside The Edit Process of a Restaurant Review: The Meddlesome Moth in Dallas

All writers need editors. They help us stay focused. They put up with our propensity to procrastinate. They pull us out of rabbit holes.

They also cut the fakafaka out of our copy.

This month I reviewed the Meddlesome Moth for D Magazine. Each month before I type the first word,  I know I’m usually “allowed” around 1,600 words for a lead dining review. How much space I actually get is determined by many factors but the major word-killer is ad sales—too much or too little. I turned in my original review of MM at 1,894 words. There were so many interesting story angles and I tried to get them all in.

A few days later, my esteemed editor Tim “Slasher” Rogers says, “Dude, I’m cutting Moth to 1,100.” Tempers flared. “Why don’t you just cut my heart out while your at it, Rogers!” I screamed. I argued for every word and suggested cuts in other sections of the magazine which led to flaring tempers at other sections of the magazine. It’s not always fun and games around here.

Anywhoo, Tim pissed me off because he cut a whole section on a beer flight I sampled with the assistance of Matt Quenette, one of only four level-two Certified Cicerones in the state. And he snipped out the nugget on why Moth owner Shannon Wynne ended the names of his first restaurants and clubs with an “O.” (8-0, Tango, Rio, etc.)

If you are interested in the dirty side of the magazine writing business, take a look at the pdf of the original text with edits  I recovered from the bowels of Tim’s computer. (Note: what look like typos and space problems are  mostly quirky MAC to PC random symbols and letters.) Hurry, I don’t know how long this post will be live. I’m sure Timmy will be along soon to chop it down.