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All About the Edits

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I have a number of projects at editors / publishers now and their edits are coming back to me. No one likes edits but a whole lot of authors I know (including me) really appreciate them. I know editors work hard to make your prose awesome. They are the unsung heroes of the publishing industry.

But still, I can’t help but sigh and wonder if I can write at all when I see red all over the page. Or, in this particular case, when a fact checker kills one of my “brilliant” ideas. In truth, it’s still brilliant but technically it doesn’t work in the situation I described. Fortunately, the fact checker in question is more than happy to answer my questions and help me make my brilliant idea work… with a bunch of modifications. Thank goodness for tech experts.

I have another project coming back from a publisher who has some points to address in an anthology. There’s one story that he apparently does not approve of. I don’t know which story yet but it’s nerve wracking for me to wait to find out. What did I miss as an editor? I do my darnest to do a good job. I’m hoping it isn’t as bad as my imagination is making it.

Of course, there is a balance. I edited a story recently … well… more critiqued with editor notes. I was kind and firm in my thoughts. The story needed a lot of work. Yesterday, I got a thank you note from the author, thanking me for my honest critique and telling him exactly what he needed to know—about the story and the writing. It was an unexpected pleasure. Editing is hard work. I understand how hard it is on the author to receive hard edits.

I do appreciate all my editors. They save me from looking like an idiot. They help make my stories that much better. And, in return, I give them my respect and my attention. I treat them the way I’d like to be treated when I am the editor.