Friday, August 12, 2016

What should one expect from a content editor? #mgtab @mimisgang1






I’ve recently had my newest work edited and I’m reeling. This was to be a content edit which I took to mean she’d be checking the story for any slow areas, missing or confusing timelines, character weaknesses and plot problems.

The first thing I noticed is that many of my lines have been rewritten, sometimes for the better, but at other times she’s changed my voice by taking out special hints of a character’s personality or emotional blurbs that I purposely set up. I’ll admit, these were done using my particular style, but it’s my book…. right?

Next, she questioned actions and thoughts that within a few sentences would become clear. Should I ignore these comments? This has made me question other changes she wants me to make. Don’t get me wrong, I went to her because this book was rejected by a publisher I particularly wanted to work with. That made me realize, though my books get good reviews, maybe the sales would be stronger if I got some advice on how to strengthen my story from a professional.

At the beginning, she warned me that she wouldn’t… ahh blow smoke up my skirt which I took to mean that she would be giving me an honest edit and I welcomed that. I’m a professional and comments with a positive vibe would be gladly accepted.

But I’m also a long-time writer who has learned that not everyone will like my style. My books are fast-paced, action-packed and they don’t have a lot of… yawn ho hum areas where the reader’s eyelids start drooping. I keep my poor people constantly in scrapes of one type or another – it’s the kind of books that satisfy me.

And though I do write romance, I just can’t keep bringing up the guy’s rippling muscles or the thrilling urges my heroine gets when he stares into her eyes. I’m sorry but that kind of soppy dribble has been done to death. In my love stories, I like to keep things as real as possible. I kinda believe that my readers are intelligent enough to know when my heroine is falling for the hero and they don’t need to be reminded on every page with sappy lines and constant hints.

Another thing to note, in most of my reviews, I’ve always had compliments on my various characters. It’s what most of my many readers seem to concentrate on. But, she didn’t like them – at all – or maybe it’s just that she didn’t get them?? Not sure which is worse? But reminding myself that there are readers out there who will be thinking exactly as she does, I will make changes. I thank her for pointing out the times where I can delve a little more into their thoughts and emotions. No doubt, the story will be better for these changes and I will have learned not to cut corners on those times when I should take advantage and expand.

Again, she seemed to think my hooks at the end of my chapters were weak and that I needed to add more excitement to encourage the readers to keep reading. Since it’s something I’ve always prided myself on, I guess I just don’t get it. That hurt… but… I will reread and rework those areas and see what she means.

Truthfully, I only scanned the first dozen chapters or so and therefore, she might have changed her tactics somewhat by the end. But to say it’s humbling, is like saying my pride took a slight nudge. Sorry, but the truth is – it flew ass over tea-kettle.

And I paid big bucks to get slugged.

In the end, will I be glad?

Not sure – once I quit feeling sorry for myself, I’ll get back to you :-))

10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Is this the first time you've used this editor? Is it who I think it is? If so I hesitate to send her my romantic suspense.

    It will be interesting to compare your sales stats to see if it was worth it. Keep us posted.

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    1. This editor was a complete stranger to me - recommended by another author I know and respect. The thing is, she writes urban fantasy and I write Romantic Suspense. Need I say more??
      I'm not sure if I'll Indie pub this series. I might still try and sell it... I'm still deciding:-)

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  3. Hi Mimi,
    I think your books are great the way they are! I know she was probably trying to help, but it can be really demoralizing. I count on my critique groups to point out my weak areas. I'm in a local group and I'm also the coordinator for Lethal Ladies, RWA's Kiss of Death chapter. I've learned a ton of useful information from these professionals. Best of luck, and don't forget-it's your story!

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    1. That's what I kept telling myself as I read through her numerous suggestions, Jacquie. It's my book. But... I had to try and keep an open mind and remember - other readers might be reading the story in the same way as she did. And I want them to be able to enjoy a fluid tale and not one that keeps them questioning. As I mentioned above, not all her suggestions were bad, quite the opposite. As I continue to work my way down the manuscript, I find her weird way of looking at things has actually made me aware of certain areas I should work on. That's a good thing...

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  4. I have not read any of your books yet but even blog posts give away a writing style and yours is dynamic and readable. That editor is not necessarily right. (typed from my phone)

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I try so hard to make my writing believable and compelling so the reader has a hard time to put the book down. It's not easy. XO :-)

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  5. I had an editor write my soul out of a book. I was too newbie of a writer to stand up for myself. Waiting to get my rights back on the book and then I'll rewrite to the way it should sound.
    Editors aren't Gods and we writers have to remember that.
    Great post - Triberr shared.

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    1. Awww Victoria, I'm sorry that happened to you. Sometimes a story resonates with us and we know exactly how we want the reader to ahh... understand the characters - you know what I mean? To see the characters the way we see them in our heads and if that editor doesn't have the same image, it's not good. My editor didn't get my heroine at all. She saw a hard-assed girl with no heart an I wrote her as a gentle changeling finding a new path and struggling. The best thing she did though was make me go deeper into my girl and show her struggles more. Guess that's not a bad thing...

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