Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Editor is a Rockstar!

I’m getting a head start on tomorrow’s posting. I had an article just about finished when a question from the comment section yesterday kept butting in.

First of all, I’d like to make perfectly clear, this is a blog based on my personal experiences and insights. I can not speak for any other editor, nor do I wish to. I do hope that what I post here is in some small way of help to writers earnestly wishing to further themselves. My opinions are based on a conglomerate of experiences with writers, not on any one sole person. No post is ever aimed at any one in particular. I think I need to post a disclaimer on the sidebar here somewhere, but for now I’m going to post this little paragraph on my articles just to make it clear.

So, enough with that, here is the question:

Is the editor always right?

And here is the answer:


There is no long answer. There is no ‘but if’. There is no ‘maybe’.

Once your story is accepted, your editor OWNS it from then until final galley. Everything that needs to be done is his/her responsibility, and there is plenty. There is much more than simply editing the story itself, but for the author, that’s where the concern lies, so we’ll stick with that for now.

If your story is accepted at a house, it’s usually because your particular editor championed it in some form or fashion, so you really should love him/her just for that alone. They pushed it because they saw something in it. They liked your over all style. They fell in love with the story line.

Okay, so now you sit there thinking then what the heck is all that yellow stuff on my page? Why all the comments? Why are words crossed out, and rearranged? Why do I need to re-write large parts? If it was so freakin’ great, why is this unseen person trashing it?

The reason is that editors need to take the material and do their best to make it shine. There will be much more on what editors look for in the story itself when my actual tomorrow’s post comes. It’s the one I was working on, so I don’t want to ruin it now by going into that. Back to the original question.

Is the editor always right, though, you still ask. They are right at that moment. Yes. Always. Another thing that triggered my desire to write this extra piece was watching one of my favorite shows earlier this evening. I love Rockstar—Supernova. Okay, I mildly liked last years version of Rockstar, but since I adore Tommy Lee, I’m having a ball this year watching it. The thing is, all of the contestants on the show are wonderful. They are accomplished singers, and performers in their own right. However, they NEED to be what Supernova needs them to be. All of the members of the band are attempting to mold these singers into the polished performer that they need. Even though individually each of those performers may very well be just fine… at THIS moment they need to be the version of fine that Supernova needs them to be. At this point in time, no matter what anyone else thinks about them as performers, and singers, the guys that make up Supernova are RIGHT. No ifs, no ands, and no buts. They’re right, period.

That’s the way it is when an author is working with an editor as well. Yes. The editor is right, period. Can the author discuss a problem point with the editor? Yes. Absolutely. It’s encouraged. Should an author ask for clarification if they’re not sure what is needed, or wanted? No doubt about it. Definitely. Must the author comply if the final judgment is the change needs to be made? Yes. Definitely.

Can you ask for a different editor? Sure. I’ve read various versions of where that might lead from other authors blogs, and I’ll leave it at that for my personal opinion.

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