1. haribol
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    haribol Member

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    Does editing mean assassinating creativity?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by haribol, Dec 21, 2012.

    I often feel and in fact have faced at times, editing kills the spirit of the writer. When we get apiece get published through some journals, they edit our articles excessively. Trimming down something is not a bad idea at all but when it is done at the expense of creativity it becomes intolerable. The writer or creator is indeed more creative and it is at times true that a little grammatical correction is needed but when it is done in a manner that distorts the very spirit of creativity is an unjust act
     
  2. .Mark
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    .Mark Member

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    I haven't done any journalism myself, but I imagine that the editor can only allow up to a certain amount of length or space for any one article. You do relinquish some creative rights when you submit a piece to an editor, and if it seems to be at the expense of your true thoughts on a subject, you might consider an alternative publisher.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can't speak to journals personally, but they definitely have to look at space considerations, much more so than with books. As to books, editors will make suggestions - it's up to the author to decide whether to take them. Of course, there will be deal breakers in those, but I don't think it happens very often (unless the writer's a prima dona, of course).
     
  4. tmrose
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    tmrose Member

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    Many years ago a friend and I were discussing Baroque music (I think it was Baroque anyway). I thought it was sad that the creativity of the composer was hindered so much by the format that was imposed on the music at the time.

    He pointed out that the mark of the genius in the case of these composers was their ability to show huge amounts of creativity in the very rigid format they were working with. That struck a chord with me, and now I try to remember that that imposed boundries are merely creative challenges and not ways to stifle my ability to create.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mark is right... that's something you agree to in principle, when you write for any type of periodical... if you don't like their editorial methods, you're free to take your work elsewhere in future...
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What you said there worries me. Do you mean that you got quite creative with your grammar and then got edited?

    How does the editing hinder your creativity? Editing should not be changing the content of what you're saying, so how can it affect your creativity? As for your personal style of writing - every journal has a "house style" that I'm afraid you must adhere to if you wanna work with them.
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It doesn't kill the creativity, it's just a fact of life. No matter how creative a writer is, editing is necessary Hemingway's quote on editing:

    “The first draft of anything is shit.”


    ― Ernest Hemingway

    “Edit your manuscript until your fingers bleed and you have memorized every last word. Then, when you are certain you are on the verge of insanity...edit one more time!”
    ― C.K. Webb

    Rereading reveals rubbish and redundance. ~ Duane Alan Hahn

    Editing is part of being a writer, and it doesn't take away the 'creativity' of the piece. If it does, then perhaps the actual writing wasn't strong enough to begin with. I edit the crap out of my writing, to the tune of losing 20% of my words off the bat and the creativity is still there.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm not speaking about jounel editing since I have no experience of it. But for books, surely if editing killed the creative impulse of the writer, then surely that's just bad editing. Editing to me should be a collaborative process between the writer and the editor, and usually with the writer in final charge.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    What this person said.

    Often, I cut more than 20%. Usually, my first draft is the skeleton. Then afterwards, I add the meat. Then, I cut a lot out. It is disheartening, but that's just the way it goes. I wonder sometimes if I cut too much.
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Plus, once we send off for publishing, and agree to team with a certain magazine or publisher, then it becomes their show. They are the one spending the money on it, so they'll edit it as they see fit. It's just part of a business.

    Unfortunately, it's a business and they're spending the money on the manuscript. The final edit decision is the publisher/magazine's and its just part of the job. In fact, a lot of things are controlled by the publisher instead of the writer, and that probably will never change unless a writer chooses to self publish.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Editing decisions in book publishing is up to the author in the end. Of course, one has to make sure that's in the contract, but allowing the publisher to have the final word isn't typical, from what I've heard from published authors. After all, it's their book.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Are there heavy-handed editors? Unquestionably. Are there undisciplined writers? Most assuredly.

    I don't think there will be too many situations where a seasoned writer and a conscientious editor will be in complete agreement. A good editor will respect creativity and only change what is necessary to keep the articles looking professional and consistent with the standards of the journal/periodical, and not make changes solely for personal preference.

    If you're a staff contributor, your only real option is to do some editing of your own - on your portfolio and resume. If you're freelance, you can choose not to submit to an editor who you feel is overly busy with the red pen. On the other hand, you could end up buried under your own ego if the editing changes really were fully justified.
     
  13. Oswiecenie
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    Oswiecenie Active Member

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    As long as it doesn't touch the core message, nope.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    keep in mind that the op was referring to writing for periodicals, not book mss edited by their publishers...
     

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