Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When Your Editor Wants a Rewrite (Part 3 of 3)

Think of rewriting or revising as an opportunity for you to improve. If you're given the opportunity to rewrite a page or a chapter, accept it as graciously as you can. How many people can go back to their work and make it better? You can and readers will never know.

Remind yourself that you're a writer who's learning and you'll never stop learning. I've published more than 100 books and I'm much better than when I started, or when I was on book 39. I'm still improving.

You may receive a suggestion that you're convinced is off or misses the point you want to make. Email your editor and explain your reasoning. (Never call unless you have permission to do so.)

A few times I've explained to an editor why I didn't agree. I've tried to do it rationally and not defensively. If I feel disquieted or angry over something, I know I'm not ready to respond. Only when I have resolved the issue inwardly, am I able to look at it impartially.

There is a time to compromise and a time to stand firm. You need to be sure you pick the right issues. Recently, an editor asked me about someone to write a children's book for their publishing house. I mentioned a man I like personally.

"He's too defensive," she said. "We tried working with him once. Never again."

And remember, like writers, editors talk among themselves. If you're difficult, the word gets around.

If you honestly can say, "The revision diffuses the point I'm trying to make," that's valid. When you can present your position rationally, that's usually enough. Or it may be the editor insists your wording is imprecise or misleading and wants to help you clarify. Try to read without bias. It's a skill you can learn.

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