Monday, January 30, 2012

Editing is just a thing called love

I’m having a relationship with my editor this very moment. Don’t worry, my husband knows about it.

If you love your work, you must love your edit. Note I said edit not editors. But if they don't agree with what you are trying to portray, it could be because you didn’t make it real or believable for them. The editor is your first reader, your best defense against failure. If they don't “get it” most of their readers won't either. Your editor stands between you and the failure to communicate.

Recently I sent off a flash fiction story to one of my favorite editors. He has published seven of my other stories with various degrees of editorial assistance. This specific story he didn't get, partly because it wasn't typical of my brand and partly because, based on his readership, he knew a few unanswered questions would be misinterpreted when translated in his clients’ minds. In one spot it was so bad that it turned my grieving mother into a geezer slut, or at best a loose woman.

We tossed this subject back and forth for three days—time zone issue—and finally came to a compromise. My grieving mother retained her virtue and we both retained our integrity.

Editors are your friends. The writers at Champagne have been praising and criticizing editors. The consensus is that we need them, and most of us love them. We’re in this relationship together, for good, better and the best.

Julie Eberhart Painter is the Champagne Books author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and Kill Fee. See her Web site at www.books-jepainter.com;
Flash fiction appears at http://www.bewilderingstories.com

6 comments:

J.A. Garland said...

I'm going through edits right now, so how very timely this post! I'm of the 'halleluljah' mindset that I have such a great editor. I figure we are in this together to make the story and characters as strong as they can be. As tough and time consuming as some of those changes can be to make, I'm soooo very happy we are making them because the end product is so much more polished!

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Exactly right. Well worth the effort. Thanks for responding.

Rita Bay said...

Timely post! My view is that if you want to self-edit, then self-publish. The editor looks at the work from a different perspective--publishing the most salable product.
BTW, I didn't comment on our group because I haven't been edited in fiction. My grants and programs, however, went through grinders to turn out the best product we could. The worst example of a failure to edit effectively was New Jersey's loss of about $60 million in federal education grants because they included the wrong year's data with the grant. Of course, Christie fired the Board of Education Director but the money was gone. Rita Bay

Rhobin said...

I've always had wonderful editors and really appreciated their advice. I've heard horror stories though, and always wonder what I would do in those scenarios.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I absolutely loved my first experience of a professional edit from Champagne Books - it is so necessary to have someone else's view on our writing.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Thanks, everyone.