…even when it means changing your darling words that you worked so hard on.
Just the other day I received my edited manuscript for my book that will come out next year, and I have been going through the suggestions made by my editor. It is amazing how much it helps to have another person go through a manuscript, even when it has been through severla drafts already. Fresh eyes catch so much, and I am grateful that I have a good editor.
We don’t always agree on changes, which is fine with her. She believes, like I do, that the author should have the final decision unless it is a glaring craft or grammar error. But I find that if I stop and really consider what she is suggesting, I more often agree with the changes than not agree.
So the key is to stop and consider. Put the ego aside and really think about what the words are trying to say. Is the editor’s way better?
What is your experience with being edited?
5 thoughts on “Editing is a Good Thing…”
In my day (night) job, I’m a copy editor, so I’ve been on both sides of the red pencil. I’ve received line edits on my own work where I’ve wondered why the editor didn’t just go ahead and make the change, especially when it’s related to style (spelling out an age rather than using a numeral, for example).
That said, I suppose it’s better to be queried on every change. Occasionally, I’ll deal with an editor whose approach is wrong-headed (please, for the love of all that is holy, let go of the prohibition against split infinitives) or simply more conservative than mine. In that case, we should hash it out.
My editing experiences, thus far, have been positive. Even if I don’t always agree, I have been able to understand my editors’ perspectives.
I think that’s the most important aspect of editing: the mutual respect of the editor and editee and, if a difference of opinion arises, pointing out WHY you arrived at your opinion.
Good points, Craig and Linda. It is interesting to be on both sides of the red pencil. Being an editor has actually made me more sensitive to my editors, so I don’t immediately jump up to defend my words. The first time I was edited I was a real baby. 🙂
Setting aside the ego is sometimes difficult. Choosing an editor needs to involve careful consideration. You have to trust and believe in your editor – and that doesn’t mean you have to do everything she says, but you need to at least consider it, then make your own decision.
Straight From Hel
LOL, Helen. I think setting aside the ego is always difficult. It just needs to be done. 🙂
And you are right about the fact that the editor and writer need to be compatible. I’ve worked with a number of different editors in my career and some have definitely been a better fit than other. Which doesn’t mean they weren’t good editors. Our styles just didn’t blend well. The one I’m working with now is great.