Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Picking Your Battles

Editors like to edit, and while I'm doing pretty well with the final product, there are still occasions when an editor steps in and say Whoa, can't do that. With me, it's almost always tagged with That will offend the reader or That will burn the reader's face off.

Behind this is the ghostly echo of my mother wailing, Can't you write something nice?

I don't mind the editorial jerk on the writer-bit. I'm well aware that, left to run around unchecked, my powers could quickly be turned to the Dark Side. Then a little teeny hologram of my mother with two bagels bobby-pinned to her hair will have to pop up in Episode 19 and plead, Save us, Obi-Luke . . .

Seriously, editing can be a good thing, because you've got to justify how what you've written serves the story. If you can do this to your satisfaction -- and the editors -- then you can usually win the battle.

It's when the editor says, Sorry, still doesn't work for me that you have to decide whether to go with the edit, or stick to your guns. And you should make sure it's that important to you.

I'm pretty flexible, so I generally come up with a compromise that works for me and the editor. In the 26 books I've had published, I've only insisted on not changing something an editor didn't like twice -- the ending of StarDoc, and a single line said by the minister in Midsummer Melody.

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