Sunday, August 09, 2009

Editing

Like yesterday, my blog posts for the next few days are inspired by the movie “Julie and Julia”. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that Julia Child and her co-authors were not happy when their editors asked them to make big changes in their cook book. They said goodbye to the publisher and took their book elsewhere. How realistic is that? Oh, I’m sure other authors have done that and still do it. But is it RIGHT? I don’t know that it’s exactly WRONG, but every editor, every publisher I’ve ever worked with requires edits. Some more than others. It seems childish of me to take your toy and run to another playground just because the publisher wants changes. Julia Child got lucky that they found another publisher that wanted their book as is. However, I give Julia and company credit for having tested each recipe and rewritten the book at least once in the beginning. For those who are just beginning the writing journey or who haven’t tried yet, that’s par for the course. Sometimes we have to rewrite our books at least once and edit several times. Even though three of my books were edited by their first publisher and had been previously released, the second publisher who re-released them still required more edits. For better or worse, edits are part of the package. I used to hate edits. Ask my critique partners. I’m still not in love with them but see the merit and opportunity to really polish and perfect my stories. I try to make the process fun now.

6 comments:

Molly Daniels said...

One of my favorite Little House episodes is where Laura gets an offer to publish her 1st book. But they required many changes, and when her niece looks up in horror and says 'But Aunt Laura...it's no longer YOUR book anymore!', she decided to pass on that publisher. And then fast-forward to 'present day', and a little girl is running to the library to check out Little House on the Prairie.

Fiction, yes, but I also think sometimes you can edit almost all of YOU out of the story. And then begs the question, whose story is it now, yours or the editors?

A good editor will tweak your words to perfection; a bad one will rewrite it.

When I started making changes, I first did it because the editor was the pro; but sometimes I had to stop and ask myself 'is this taking away the basic story or my voice', and if I thought it was, then my editor and I talked it through. I didn't just make blind changes. And I hope to work with him again!

Amber Skyze said...

Oh, I cringe at editing time. I know it's necessary, but don't like it. :)

I agree with Molly. A good editor will make your story better. And sometimes there are bad ones out there. Maybe Julia got a rotten apple the first time around!

The Redhead Riter said...

That is why you are an excellent writer...you see the process and a betterment to your craft!

Sandra Cox said...

I can see the other side of the coin. You should try your best as should the editor, but when you get someone that wants to rewrite your entire work, put her words in it with your name on it, I think its time to make a different move for both your sakes.

The Bumbles said...

Oh dear - I would HATE to be edited. That's how I would take it - that they were editing ME - because isn't that what something that I would create would be - a part of me, and therefore personal? I would take it all very personally and never get over myself. I don't do well with criticism - constructive or otherwise. Just ask my poor boss! Good for you for tolerating the process - I'm sure it is helpful. In fact, I think I'd much rather be the editor than the one suffering through the edie ;0)

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