Posts tagged Editing
Posts tagged Editing
Found on Facebook - not sure who invented this but it rocks!
Dear Fellow Writers,
I am seeking examples of the Best Editorial Comments and Worst Editorial Comments. This could be editorial advice, queries, remarks, or even cuts made to your work by a professional editor (NOT copyeditor). It would be most interesting to hear about editors who work for traditional publishing houses, but freelance editors count, too.
Here are some quotations about editors to put you in the mood to share your own experiences:
“Everyone needs an editor.” - Tim Foote
“An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff.” - Adlai Stevenson
“I am always disappointed with all of my books because I know what the editors leave out!” - Bernie Siegel
“Editing should be… a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ‘How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?’ and avoid ‘How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?’” - James Thurber
“You’re at the mercy of the editors’ hands.” - Kelly LeBrock
“When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.” - Raymond Chandler
“I’m thoroughly convinced that editors don’t help authors” - H.L. Mencken
“There are plenty of bad editors who try to impose their own vision on a book.” - Terri Windling
“I see my [editorial] role as helping the writer to realize his or her intention. I never want to impose any other goal on the writer, and I never want the book to be mine.” - Faith Sale
Collective wisdom is a wonderful thing. Let’s put our heads together and collect the most helpful, outrageous, illuminating, or hilarious editorial comments you’ve ever seen.
You can reach me in the general ASK ME ANYTHING box - poke the question mark at the top of the page - or by using the Disqus response box with this post.
I’ll post replies as they come in. I look forward to hearing from you.
THE FIRST RESULTS ARE IN! OPEN CALL FOR BEST, WORST, MOST HELPFUL, MOST RIDICULOUS EDITORIAL COMMENTS:
1. “Oh boy. I was once told by an editor that I’d never be a writer so I should just give it up. And was once told by another editor that my essay wasn’t ‘sparkly’ enough, so she’d made up a lot of stuff that never happened and added it. To a nonfiction piece. Ha!” (via Twitter)
Harriet Brown is the author of Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia and other nonfiction books, and is the editor of two anthologies. Her work also appears in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Science section, O magazine, Glamour, Vogue, and many other publications. Her radio essays can be heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “To the Best of Our Knowledge.” www.harrietbrown.com
2. “I’m not sure I can remember comments from my editors verbatim, but the best ones were those that offered concise, terse, honest criticism and praise (not necessarily together). The editor that taught me the most gave me the most grief. He wasn’t ‘mean spirited’ or anything — just far less touchy-feely than I am and he got right to the point. I don’t want to say his name (out loud) here, but I can honestly say that his editorial commentary in regards to my content have truly shaped my career. He put the dream in my hands. I then ran with the dream. I almost hated him when he was editing me. I complained about him all the time to my husband — but once I moved on, I realized that he is the REASON I could actually move on and continue this beautiful journey.” (via Disqus)
Samantha Gluck owns All Media Freelance, LLC where she works as a professional copywriter, blogger, ghost writer, and contributing author for several online publications including the prestigious Houston Chronicle. she has earned a regular feature on MedCityNews and landed a position as a regular columnist for a health and wellness magazine that will launch in June 2011. http://medtopicwriter.com
3. “I know we accepted it, but it didn’t grow on us like a fine wine.” (via Twitter)
Linton Robinson, author of Sweet Spot and other fiction, started out as an award-winning journalist and feature writer for magazines. He writes for publications in Mexico and is author of several volumes of poetry as well as books on Mexican travel, Spanish, and Mexican slang. http://linrobinson.com
4. “I recently received a response from an editor, and she invited me to ‘revise and resubmit’ my book because there were ‘plot issues’. One of the issues she listed was that I had peaches in North Carolina (where the story is set) ripen in July. July is prime ripe peach season in NC, but I guess she felt like whinging out some unfounded criticism without even googling it first.” (via Disqus)
Ranae Rose is an author of red-hot romances. Her latest book, Eternity and a Year, will be available this August. http://www.ranaerose.com
5. “I had one editor say get rid of 15,000 words [approximately 60 manuscript pages]. Best advice I ever got.” (via Twitter)
Joe Navarro, who spent 25 years in counterintelligence and counterterrorism in the FBI, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on body language. He is the author of What Every Body Is Saying and Louder Than Words, as well as numerous other nonfiction titles. http://www.jnforensics.com
6. “I’ve had wonderful editors. One bad experience with a copy editor who refused to correct the publisher’s errors because it “wasn’t in the budget” to fix their own mistakes!” (via Disqus)
Hawley Roddick is the author of the novels Secret Choices and Together, as well as four nonfiction books about business writing, memoir writing, and filmmaking. Starting with a regular column in Cosmopolitan magazine that ran for seven years, she also has written numerous articles on business and on lifestyles for various magazines. http://www.hawleyroddick.com
7. “Best: when struggling whether to include a sex chapter in my book my editor said, “Follow your heart and your instincts.’ I did.” (via Twitter)
Joanna Poppink is a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders and the author of the forthcoming book Healing Your Hungry Heart. http://eatingdisorderrecovery.com
8. “Insisting on paragraph-length bullet points in business writing.” (via Twitter)
Michael J Mathias is a husband, dad, working writer, aspiring novelist, coffee drinker, rebel. Something like that. (Used to be @PunditNation) http://www.facebook.com/michael.mathias
9. “Last year I got comments from editor at a university press back. He had printed my manuscript out and wrote on it in dull red pencil. TrackChanges was apparently beyond him. One of my faves: “Huh?!” Very helpful. He was also upset that the pages did not have numbers on them. Um, yeah, because it wasn’t intended to be printed out. If you used it digitally it would. He moved on soon after, thank goodness, but the book had to be completely re-edited by his successor who told me candidly the press would NEVER have published the book with the changes he had insisted upon.” (via DIsqus)
Brette Sember is an editor, ghostwriter, book doctor, indexer, and author of many nonfiction books. Brette has worked as a senior editor for a small publisher, a Huffington Post blogger, freelancer for many major magazines, a columnist for a regional magazine, and a contributing editor for an online magazine. Brette’s articles have appeared in over 160 publications. And there’s more at http://www.brettesember.com.
10. “Not much experience with editors, but my favorite rejection form letter had a hand-written note that said she loved my work, thought it was a really great approach to the topic, but ‘sorry, nobody wants to accept themselves as they are. only diet books sell.’ Nobody? Really?” (via Disqus)
Elizabeth Patch is the author and illustrator of More to Love, a unique sketchbook and collection of meditations about size acceptance. She maintains an illustrated blog at http://elizabethpatch.com.
11. “Worst: one editor said he wouldn’t hire me because I was a woman.” (via Twitter)
Ingrid Burling is a lateral thinker, business coach, and fan of guerilla ideas. For more about her business coaching company, see http://www.blueorchidconsulting.com
12. “Editing is instrumental to my book writing process. In my new book, The Writer’s Workout, my editor noticed that the book lacked continuity in the early drafts. Even in nonfiction, there is a need to build tension and to keep the reader hooked. Thank goodness she spoke up or I would have composed a very dull, flat book. Now it has four movements. Thanks, Melissa, aka @Writer’sDigest!” (via Twitter)
Christina Katz, well known as @thewritermama on Twitter, is author of Get Known Before the Book Deal and, most recently, The Writer’s Workout: 366 Tips, Tricks & Techniques From Your Writing Career Coach. She specializes in coaching, teaching, and empowering writers. http://christinakatz.com
13. “Having only worked with one editor, I don’t know whether his comment is good or bad. He simply laughed and said, ‘This is as complicated as War and Peace!’ OK, so pretty bad…?” (via Disqus)
Cathryn Louis (pen name) writes romantic suspense that combines her knowledge of business and technology with intrigue and romance. Her first book is the e-book Sunrise on the Pier, and her second novel, Sparks, is the first of a family of novels to come. http://www.cathrynlouis.com