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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Neck deep in edits

Now, here is my first real more 'blog' post. Something I assure many of us writers can relate to: dreadful editing.

Okay, maybe not dreadful. It's a necessary evil in our careers as authors. Everyone from betas, to agents, to editors, to reviewers, and even readers (admit it, you have tried to edit some of your favorite books!) with give you edits or suggestions or alternatives. With all of these people bombarding you with suggestions, where does one, as the original author, say 'PLEASE, STOP IT!'?

Now, I'm not talking about grammar edits. I'm a firm believer that all grammar, spelling, word usage, etc edits should be followed through. 9 times out of 10, they don't affect the story as a whole. Sure, they still fall through the cracks once in a while, but it's not like they do any real harm to anyone. If you are a reader who freaks because a book has one, small grammar edit in 400 pages, you need to get yourself checked.

I'm talking about edits regarding characterization, plots, sub-plots, and major POV shifts (like going from third person to first, or vice versa). Edits that can have a major effect on the story, can be time consuming, and aren't guaranteed to pay off in the end.

No one knows the story better than the author themselves. They deserve to have the final say. Though, how does one look at an edit, go 'uh, no', and not come across as ungrateful and full of themselves?

I have seen published works where it was quite obvious that the author disgrarded pretty much every edit people could have suggested. It comes through their work like a shining beacon. I sure as heck don't want to be known as that kind of author, the one who doesn't listen. On the same token, if I took every edit every person has suggested to me, my writing style and voice (with me being relatively new, isn't all that strong yet) would get lost. The story wouldn't be *mine* anymore.

I'm not a type of person who likes to come across as ungrateful. I am grateful for every single edit, regardless if I use them or not. I know it's because people care enough to take my story to the next level. That doesn't mean every edit is a 'good' edit though. On occasion, people simply miss the point. Not every person in the world is going to 'get' it. It's a fact of life.

Usually, how I determind a 'good' edit from a not as good one is numbers. If five people went over something and didn't say anything and then one person comes by and basically gives a major revision, I'll usually say no. Nothing personal, but who am I going to believe? Five people? Or one?

Well, unless that one person was my editor who bought my book. But I haven't reached that point yet. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

How do you deal with these types of edits? Where do you draw the line? When do you say 'enough is enough'?

1 comment:

  1. I did a little thinking on this after reading this. I think you make some pretty good points. Another factor to consider in deciding if the edit is a good one is the source. I think I would put more weight behind the words of a published novelist than maybe other people. I do think that most good edits or suggestions will not change the plot, and the best ones will only improve your voice in the story.