Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blog Hop Thursday

Today's question, posed by affiliate author, Amy Romine, is:  What do you do with your edits?

That's a very good question. Currently, I have a wonderful editor whose suggestion enhance the story. Sometimes she asks me to delete whole paragraphs. Yikes.  While it kills me to do so, I read  the paragraph and if I agree - I usually do - I delete it. If there's information in that paragraph that I feel the reader needs to know, I add a comment about why I want to keep it. Sometimes we shorten the paragraph or change the wording to get my point across. Other times, she leaves it.

I've been the product of some horrible editors in the past. One actually added the dreaded "LY"word to all of my saids. Or changed complete sentences, adding the word. I think every (or at least most) authors know to avoid these words as much as possible. Granted, they do have their place. They are part of our language after all. But we all know to use them sparingly.  This editor added them to sentences like - She raced (hurriedly) down the hall. Not only is the sentence awkward - everyone knows if you race you're in a hurry. Adding an ly word there only repeats the action.

Needless to say, I balked and balked. And the editor talked to the publisher and the publisher said if I remained uncooperative, they were breaking my contract. I wrote back and said I refuse to cooperate with that kind of editing. So contract broken, I moved on. I wouldn't have my work changed that way - For one thing, she was changing my author's voice. I don't write that way. She was also changing the tone of the story - to her voice. Not to mention, she wasn't  making it better.

I think most editors are pretty good. Another one I dealt with was very understanding of things I wanted to leave.  Don't get me wrong. If the suggestion is reasonable, I'm more than willing to make a change.  Another line editor I dealt with insisted on changing a lot of my manuscript to her voice. Not to mention she inserted the word "However" during a love scene. I don't know about you, but however isn't part of my vocabulary in everyday language let alone during a love scene. She also eliminated scenes that I felt were important to my heroine. Albeit - they could have been shortened.  So once again, she went to the owner and the owner said it wouldn't be published. Since most of the edits were reasonable, I came up with a compromise to the paragraphs - I shortened them as long as she removed the word However. There were several other comments throughout the manuscript also. I suggested compromises for them also - Truthfully, I think this was the job of the editor, not the author. Editors aren't there to suggest changes and then be stubborn about them. They're supposed to suggest changes, but if the author has a viable reason to leave them, I think they either work out a compromise or leave them.

I was taught when it comes to edits - it's your work - the final decision is up to you. No one has the right to change your voice or style of writing.

13 comments:

Ginger Simpson said...

Could our opinions be anymore similar? I swear, you read my blog post before you wrote this. *lol* Great minds think alike.

Sherry Gloag said...

I agree, I have posted my answers at An Alternative Read because my blog is occupied with another topic, but I have had similar experiences, I wasn't threatened with a breech of contract, but if in your place I would have done the same thing.

Paige Ryter said...

You are SO right, Roseanne. I usually don't have time to visit posts (I have four agent/publisher deadlines waiting for me right now), but you're very right. I'd given up on editors/crit partners because of some that just didn't know what they were doing (I wasn't selling because of them). So I went out on my own, being my own editor. It worked, for the most part, until I started having to compete with the big NY pubbed authors...then it wasn't good enough. I found a crit partner who's just starting to write but knows SO MUCH about writing, that it boggles my mind. She's helped me more than anyone, just because she knows the rules and knows how to make things happen. So finding a wonderful editor is like gold to a writer. And one like you described above...they shouldn't give up their 'day job.' :) Thank you!

Cassie Exline said...

One of the first lessons I was taught or perhaps I should say learned -- it's my work and I have final say. I'm more than willing to listen/think about suggested edits, but if there's an issue, it needs to be discussed. You're so right, when "our voice" is being changed, that's wrong. Great post.

diannehartsock said...

I feel bad(ly)for you. I've had nothing but good experiences with my editors. We have a difference of opinion at times, but I always have the final say. Guess I've been blessed.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Ginger, I think it's because we share a brain. LOL

Jim Hartley said...

I've been lucky with MuseItUp. After the edits were done on my first book, Lea asked if I wanted to keep the same editor for the second. I gave her an enthusiastic "Yes."

The line edits have been going pretty well, too, although my editor there is a little stricter on fine points of grammar than I am ... probably a good thing, come to think of it.

J Q Rose said...

Great post and proud of you for wanting to keep your writer's voice.

Lucille said...

All of these things just make me think self publishing is the way to go. What with the author having to do so much promoting of their own work anyway. If the author has to promote, better to promote what they want to write than to go through all of this hassle.

Nobody said...

You are so right. I just finished a similar battle with the editor from hell.
She split up all my action tags from the dialog, so the story was 12 pages longer and the reader could no longer tell who said what. And changed many of my words to hers!!!
Not only did she rewrite my words her way, she didn't even mark any of her changes, just rewrote the book, then sent me the unmarked copy. Luckily, the publisher agreed with me and I was able to get most of it changed back, but will never submit another book to her.
Sigh.
Edna Curry

Nan D Arnold said...

I've been lucky. My editors have always improved my work and I'm not stubborn about changes if warranted. Many times editors see better than author can. Still, I would have done the same in your place under the circumstances you describe

Roseanne Dowell said...

I agree, Nan. I have a great editor in Lea and she deletes whole paragraphs. Most of the time I agree with her. Sometimes I need to just add a segment to impart the message.

BarbaraB said...

Roseanne,
I'm glad you found a wonderful publisher and reasonable editors.
Your story reinforces my good fortune at having found Muse for my first novel.