1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Editing woes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Steerpike, Dec 9, 2014.

    Editing other people's work, that is. I'm preparing a manuscript of short stories for someone for self-publication. Basically, making sure the formatting is correct, fixing any mistakes I find, and addressing issues of word choice or sentence structure when it makes sense to do so.

    Generally, if I come across something that isn't technically correct, but that I can tell was purposefully done a certain way for artistic effect, I will leave it alone and maybe include a note back to the author with the edited copy.

    In this particular case, the first story is written entirely in what the author takes to be a country dialect. Instead of hunting, he uses hunten. He also uses fishen and other such words, and intentionally misspells a lot of words to make it appear as though an uneducated person wrote the story.

    I'm not a fan of heavy dialect, but it's not my story. My quandry is this - I want to change hunten to huntin', figuring if you're going to use dialect it is best to use a more common approach to it. I don't want to change the author's vision of the narrator, but I do want to improve upon the writing as best I can while remaining true to what the author is trying to do, regardless of what I think of it. The writing is pretty bad all around, and I'm torn between leaving it alone because the quality is low already, and at least doing the minimum to try to make it more presentable.

    What would you guys do. Change the dialect into something more sensible, or just leave the narrator/author to his own devices? In either case, I'll send along a note about what I've done and why.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I would call up the author and discuss it.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. Simple solution :)

    I usually connect with the author after my first pass, and we hash things out at that point. Normally, that works just fine, but this particular story is so riddled with misplaced attempts at dialogue that it threw me.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    Heavy dialect is very difficult to pull off. If the author is not skilled enough yet, you might suggest he/she drops it until acquiring more skill.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    More context: this guy is 86 and undergoing cancer treatment. He just wants to see these stories he's been writing for the past couple of decades published. He's not going to get better at writing, but I want to put it in the best shape I can. The way he has the dialect doesn't work as-is, but I think I can make it less clumsy, I just don't want to hurt the guy's feelings. You're right that talking to him is probably best. He may well defer to what I want to do if I explain to him why I'm doing it.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    Given that scenario, leave it in. Clean it up if you can.
     

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