Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Write, Write and Write Again

Today I'm posting on the subject of editing. How much is too much and how little is not enough? It's something I've been ruminating on for a few weeks because I submitted my latest pocket novel to My Weekly a couple of months ago. While the Editor liked my characters and setting and the style of writing itself, she asked for changes to the plot line. I made the changes and sent it back. She then asked for another set of minor changes - which I agreed with (some of the scenes were too intimate and took us beyond the bedroom door - it had originally been written with B&K in mind!). But then a third editing was requested. I did this and sent it off but haven't heard back yet.
     My feelings on this are that I'm happy to make most changes the Editor might ask for, because at the end of the day, I want the story to be published and I trust in the Editor's judgement. There is also a two way conversation going on and she will accept refusal to change certain things if I feel there is a valid reason not to.
      But that may not be the case with every publisher and/or editor. It's possible to knock the life out of a story by over-editing and yet equally we've probably all read books which would have benefited from further edited versions before publication.
     Now that it is so easy to self publish stories as E-books, is there a case for simply writing the stories we want to and refusing to edit to someone else's requirements?



  1. I did three requested edits for a magazine story which was then not accepted! However, there's a silver lining - I sent it elsewhere for a lot more money!

  2. Well done, Wendy! That sounds very good.
    Carol, a good post. It's hard when changes are requested over and over. If the outcome is that the story/book is accepted then that's fine. If not, the thought that the original story was better haunts one. A case for saving the different versions, I expect.
    Self-publishing means a lot of promotion which we, personally, don't find easy. However it's a way forward.

  3. Congratulations Wendy - in that case editing was not a waste of time at all!
    The problem with saving different versions of a story I find, is that I can't quite put it to bed, if you know what I mean. The story then almost feels unfinished to me.
    Totally agree with your comments too on self publishing - the promo is also time consuming but for some people definitely worth it.

  4. I'm currently working through some of my rejections for ebooks! My most recent one (The Surgeon's Mistake) was one I corrected several times and it was then rejected. I have now put right what she said was wrong and self published. It is easy to do and I hope one or two will sell. I have another one in the pipeline but will wait a while before self publishing it. I agree though, self pubbing needs quite a bit of self promotion and in common with others, soemthing I hate doing!

  5. Carol, commiserations on your dilemma. I have a slightly different take on what you've outlined. What the editor is asking you to do I would call rewrites. To me, editing is just the tinkering when the story is done and dusted and rewritten to the best standard either we, as authors, or our editors decide. Either way it can be a frustrating process. My non-fiction writing how-to, Writing Is Rewriting, addresses the difference.
    As to self publishing regardless, I think we probably all tend to go with our instincts on this one. I only self-published my latest, Grace's Cottage, after it's rejection because my editor endorsed the writing and I did not want to rewrite the plot as she suggested. But with those of us multi-published through a traditional publisher, I believe we have the experience to judge whether or not our work is up to publishable standards.
    I'm with Chrissie on not being a fan of promo. I'd rather be writing so it's rewarding to see my e-sales rising each year despite my lack of input.

  6. Commiserations girls on the rewrites, I dread them! I think the key thing here is that we're writing to A market and when people self-publish they're writing to ANY market. That is quite a different thing. The editors of, say, the pocket novels know exactly who they are aiming at and what they like - apparently the readers are very vocal therefore we have to accept the editor's judgement is correct. When we publish ourselves, we can please ourselves and take more risks. We may well please a different set of readers and that's great, but I think with print readers you have to be more specific.

    1. PS Sorry - always forget to sign off, that last comment was me, Cara!

  7. An interesting distinction between editing and re-writing and I take your points about directing the story at particular markets. My Weekly is possibly less rigid than People's Friend when it comes to what's acceptable or not acceptable but they still have very defined views on what they want. When we write PN we accept that. Once we leave that path and go for self-pub there is much more freedom to decide which version to produce. I will be very relieved if my recent story is accepted but if it's not, I may well have a go at self-publishing it - a new adventure!