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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The dreaded edit

A lot of authors say the most horrible job a writer ever has to do is write an outline or synopsis. In my opinion, they're wrong. The most horrible job I ever have to do is the dreaded edit. You send your work off to the publisher or editor, and quite frankly you're sick and tired of it by now. You never want to see it again.

But, a few weeks or months later, it boomerangs back to you, covered in notes and queries (such as why do you use the word stupid on every page, stupid?) and pointing out your plot holes, your continuity errors and your general hopelessness.

So, with a sinking heart, you start your long trudge through the work again, seeing things that aren't there and vice versa. It drives you slightly mad.

I'm doing a dreaded edit at the moment, but my editor this time has been quite kind to me and queried only stuff that doesn't make sense or is obviously wrong - oops. So I consider myself blessed.

The kind of editor we all hate is the creative, thwarted-would-be-author editor, who suggests changes just for the sake of it, and generally tries to make the author write a completely different book.

I'm rejoicing that I've got off lightly this time.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree. Just the thought of The Edit brings me out in a cold sweat - all the arguing and explaining. But your editor sounds lovely. I remember seeing the soprano, Barbara Bonney give a masterclass on TV. A young and talented baritone sang his piece superbly well after which BB beamed at him and said, "That was just perfect!... Now what shall we talk about?" I thought that said a lot about her as an artist and teacher.