mysteries and motorcycles

Monday, April 25, 2011

When an editor steals your voice

L to R. Eric Choi, N.J. Lindquist, Helen Marshall (ChiZine), Sandra Kasturi (co-publisher ChiZine), Brett Alexander Savory (co-publisher ChiZine)

When I sat down to listen to a panel discuss the value of editors at a recent writer's conference, I admittedly had a railroad tie size chip on my shoulder. I had recently had a go-around with an editor who wanted so many changes in my manuscript that I felt that it wasn't even my story anymore. I withdrew my submission and went looking elsewhere.
When I first got into the writing business things were tight and nowadays they're even tighter. Without an agent, I knew that the odds were really against seeing any success in my search. Like many other literary orphans I began to consider self-publishing with my focus on the rapidly growing e-book market. I needed to escape the cleaver wielding editors of mainstream publishing. It was becoming obvious to me that editors were the primary culprits in the decline of traditional publishing. Old school editors who insist on pigeon-holing your work into very narrow genre definitions and demand that you follow a cookie cutter format in laying out your plot and developing your characters were really turning me off. I began to question all of the established rules. Do multiple points of view really confuse the reader? Is showing all that much better than telling? How do editors know these things? do they ever talk to anyone outside of the publishing world? Doesn't the reader's opinion count?
And then Brett Alexander Savory, co-publisher of ChiZine publications of Toronto said something that really struck a chord. He said that a good editor could and should bring out the voice of the author. He didn't say that an editor should chop up a manuscript and make wholesale changes, he said that an editor can help the author find the best way to make a point that the author believes in. Hmmm...Perhaps there's hope for editors after all.

Posted by The Unreal McCoy :: 9:26 AM :: 0 Comments:

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