Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Too Close to Your Work
I have a black eye. The first that I've had the pleasure of sporting. Many people haven't noticed, but today I'm having trouble keeping the makeup smooth over the spot.
Basically it is purple in the corner by my nose and resulted from hitting my cheekbone under my right eye with the handle of a hammer.
You see, I was too close to my work as I was prying a nail from a board.
In my years of editing, I've encountered several authors who get so close to their work that they can't see the need for editing or how to fix things in editing. It is no fun working with an author who argues with an editor about even the most minor editing points.
If you get your manuscript back from edit with changes you don't understand, first, take a deep breath. Second, realize that the editor's goal is to make your work shine without doing harm to your original intentions for the story. We try to keep every reader in mind. We want your writing to have the broadest appeal it can to readers, and sometimes the slightest change makes for better clarity. Third, step back from your work and put yourself in those readers' shoes. Now, see if you can't see the reason the editor made the change.
I don't mind when an author asks about an editing change--especially if it can be a teaching moment. Just try not to make an argument out of it.
Remember, too, that no two editors work alike. The editor on your first manuscript might have let an issue slide, while the editor on your second manuscript will question and change the same issue.
I just don't want to see authors getting "black eyed" book reviews because they refuse to allow their manuscript to be properly edited.
Editor Du Jour Becky