“Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.”
~~ Blake Morrison
“Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ‘How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?’ and avoid ‘How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?'”
~~ James Thurberr
Sometimes in the process of being edited, you get edited by people who don’t get you. They edit you so that you sound like everyone else. They don’t get a choice of words or a way of phrasing them as being your “voice.”
I use a lot of parenthetical phrases for instance. A lot of people don’t like them. I on the other hand adore them. It’s probably because if a lifetime of reading Stephen King.
I was shocked the first time an editor went through my entire story and instead of suggesting I remove them, simply did so, and stated that readers don’t like them.
I put them all back.
I also do lots of echoing voices from the past.
I made up words, like “giant-tude.” That one was meant to be funny by the way.
There’s other stuff.
Often the edits are amazing and fantastic and wondrous and have taught me to be a better writer—in spades.
But sometimes I am being edited into sounding like a Harlequin Romance. High school level.
That isn’t is often the case at Dreamspinner Press.
But then there are the sterling cases.
Tonight I went over the second edits on my new holiday story and WOW were they amazing! Every suggestion was gold. Every suggestion made the story better.
And she didn’t try to change my voice! She got me!
Just like my chief editor Andi. The first thing she edited that I wrote was incredible.
She got me.
She gets me.
I am so blessed.
Blessed with editors who teach me to be a better writer.
And blessed with editors who “get” me and know when to leave my voice.
And so grateful.
photograph by jppi at morgueFile