Friday, April 8, 2011

How do you deal with editors comments?

First off, when people are generous enough to edit my work, I am extremely thankful. No one is a perfect writer, and I know my work has gotten better because of suggestions. But one thing I always have to remind myself of is that edits take time. While I might be willing to edit my work in a day, everyone else seems to have this crazy thing called a life. They have more important things to do than work on a book by someone else. I have to remember this, take a breath, sit back and worry about something else since I can't force people to work faster. At least not if I ever want them to help me again.

Once I get the suggestions back, my initial reaction to most comments is probably going to be one of two things. How could I have missed that? or I refuse to make that change! The how could I miss that thought is pretty easy to deal with. Just make a note and do the change. It's the other state of mind that's problematic. What I try to do, which is really hard and sometimes impossible, is to detach myself from the story. Pretend it's not mine anymore. If I was reading the book for the first time, and people made the comments that they are making now, would I agree? Sometimes the answer is no. But oftentimes it's yes. I might not want to hear it because it means a lot more work, or it's my favorite part of the book and it needs to be eliminated.

I had a scene in Magic High with Tab and Eric which I loved. However as I started to make changes to the story, it no longer fit with the tone. But I still loved the scene, so I kept it in. When it was pointed out to me by one of my editors that it really wasn't working, I ignored the comment. I loved the scene way too much to delete it. During the submission process, I had a publisher pass on the story, and one of the reasons she gave me was that same scene. By not getting rid of it, I had made my story weaker, giving people a reason to put the book down. That scene has since been eliminated.

I'd love to say that I've learned my lesson and I will always take the advise of my wonderful editors, but I know that there will be times when I just wont be able to make the cut. The trick is to see when edits need to be made and when they are a personal preference of the editor.

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