Thursday, May 13, 2010

Editing – An Essential Evil

When you write a book, it often becomes your precious little baby. You think your prose and verse are so perfect, but then reality hits when your critique group finds all sorts of problems or weak spots. For many writers, especially new ones, the critique process can be devastating. I actually enjoy this process. When I critique someone’s work, I’m brutally honest and I want my fellow critics to be equally harsh. It’s only by uncovering the problems and weaknesses in a story that enable it to become the best that it can be. But if I truly believe this, why was I so surprised that my editor for Old MacDonald had a Dragon wanted so many edits? After going through so many rounds of revisions on my own and with my critique groups, I guess I assumed it had already reached near perfection and there would only be a few minor line edits. But no, some of my favorite parts were on the chopping block. So, I had to decide whether to fight to keep them or see things from my editor’s perspective and make the necessary changes. It ended up being a combination of both, and because I listened to my editor and tried to understand why she wanted the changes, the book will be much better now than it would have been.

The whole process reminded me of when I received the first edits from my editor for Brave Little Monster. It was my first published book and I was very willing to please, but it was kind of hard when the editor wanted to remove one of three main action sequences from the book. Still, I made the change. However, once the change was made, the editor realized that the book was now too short. So, she asked me create a new sequence. It felt like starting from scratch. But from that request emerged the creation of the “Hungry Dance”, which I believe ended up being one of the best parts, if not the best part of that book.

So, no matter how painful the editing process can be, it’s not only a necessary evil, it’s essential to taking your book to the highest levels it can reach.

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday, Tiff Dominguez and Scott Savage also talked about the interchange between editor and author on their blog