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  1. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I am sooo bad at this!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cutecat22, Aug 7, 2016.

    After all these years (around 25) I think I've just realized how bad I am at being an author!

    For the past 10 weeks, I've been painstakingly going through the edits from the Beta and Editor. The Beta's notes were perfect. I understood where she was coming from and agreed with her on 93% of her comments.

    But the Editor has completely destroyed, killed and buried me. Every page (of 500+) has deletions, insertions, changes and catty margin comments questioning every piece of research I've done. Even when I'm right, she's managed to pull an excuse out of her ass as to why I'm wrong. She's changed the family dynamics of one character which has completely destroyed the story arc and she's rearranged that much, that it doesn't even read like I've written it anymore.

    Although I'm checking everything she's done, I'm completely ignoring most of it but on the whole, it's made me realize that I must be a pretty shit author!

    But how come I can't seem to accept the fact that my MS was pretty good as far as the Beta was concerned?

    As a side note, I have the original on lappy, and the two edited versions side by side on the flatscreen so that I can compare, contrast and edit where necessary.

    But, Jesus, she's taken 14 THOUSAND words out ... I'm kinda crying in my coffee here, I know, I'm pathetic. Just wanted to whine about it.

    Back to work ... *puts game head and hakka face back on*
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Human asses are amazingly capacious. The things people pull out of them, time and again, leaves me gobsmacked. ;)
     
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  3. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    She's doing a bad job. Find someone else. There's absolutely no reason why anyone should be changing things to the point where it destroys the story arc.

    Keep chugging along!
     
  4. U.G. Ridley

    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    Your editor might not be that great of an editor then... Just like music producers working for bands and such, editors aren't supposed to make your books into something you didn't originally want them to be, they're supposed to understand what your vision for the story is and then help you achieve the best possible version of that. So basically, if you completely disagree with most of what your editor says, then you need to get a new editor.
     
  5. theamorset

    theamorset Contributing Member

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    I don't understand why the editor's input must be automatically invalid simply because there's a lot of it. She's an editor, maybe what she has to say is very useful.
     
  6. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this all part of an 'at home' writing course, or are you a writer who's managed to get themselves an agent, editor etc?

    If it's the latter, then you're good way on from most writers here, and must know what you're doing to have got this far.
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Who wants waffles...? Contributor

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    That is terrible. Editor sounds more like they are molding your story to be the way they want it to be, even if it that means cutting out crucial plot points.

    I noticed when researching smaller publishers that none seem to have a degree related to writing. A lot have some kind of film theory, or something else entirely.

    So don't feel bad, sure your work is fine. Your editor is just a jerk, that fails to see your vision of fiction. :)
     
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  8. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Thanks for making me smile!
    :bigsmile::bigsmile:
     
  9. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributing Member

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    Is this an editor that you hired, or one assigned to you by your publisher?
     
  10. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Some of it is valid, I will admit that but some of it is totally way off. Example: I have a character, woman, 29 with three younger brothers. She drives a trans am firebird. She's started as an ER nurse but a couple of the things she does, would not be done by an ER nurse (as pointed out by editor - so I researched a little more and changed her into an ER resident so she can fulfill what I need her to,) In the story, we find that she drives the trans am because it belonged to her father, it was the car he woo'ed her mother in, and it was the car the character was conceived in. At the beginning, the editor changed the family dynamics to woman, 29 with three OLDER brothers whose parents have been married 38 years .... because she thinks younger brothers can't be rough and tumble with an older sister ... then at the point we find out the character is 29, she says "aren't you glad I changed the parents marriage to 38 years?" and my answer is, "well, no, the character was conceived in a car out of wedlock ... how can a 29 year old be conceived out of wedlock if her parents have been married 38 years ...."

    Want another?

    My characters take a trip to Italy, from JFK, New York, with a child who is 2yrs and 50 weeks, they fly out around 11am and go via Rome. My editor told me to change it as long haul only fly overnight from JFK, AND children that age travel as a lap traveler. That's a complete lie on her part - as per my research, the airline the characters use does the trip exactly as I had written it, in fact they fly out from JFK five times a day, starting around ten in the morning. I know because I was a credit card away from booking myself three seats! And yes, children that age can have their own seats, according to the airline's website...

    Want another?

    There's an ITALIAN character in my book who says to another one, "Vada con Dio," which basically means God go with you. Editor's comment was "Check this, I'm sure it's Vaya con Dios." I have four main Italian characters, of course I check before I write and yes, Vaya con Dios is SPANISH.

    And comments like "This is an awful name, change it" will never go down well with any author, especially me.
     
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  11. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    No, it's not part of any course.

    This will be my third book - the editor in question did my first fiction too - a lot differently to this one.

    Maybe it's me ... Maybe it's part of the cycle I go through with each book ...
     
  12. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Thank you - I'm learning to take the bad with the good an make it all better.
     
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  13. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    This is someone who I trust (or I thought I did) who had as much love for my characters as I did (or she used to) and who has a professional background in writing, but not fiction. On the good side, she doesn't charge because editing is not her main job. (which may be a good thing)

    I will not deny that some of her comments have made me think, they have. A lot. But I just feel that she's stepped over the mark.

    I write because for years, I've never found that one book which tells a story that i could fall in love with - that I could get goosebumpy about just thinking about it. So I sat down and wrote it. Now it feels like she's taking my story and changing it into the story she would write if she were to write one. If you know what I mean.
     
  14. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Those don't sound like the comments/actions of a good editor, to me.

    The idea that she's making changes rather than making suggestions is all I need to know I wouldn't be working with her.

    Yikes.
     
  15. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I'm really glad I have her edits at the side of my beta's edits. From all 500 pages, they have made the same comment for about 8 lines, and many of those are POV f***k ups, which is something I need to sort. I think that's what's draining me, the fact that although I am ignoring most of the editors comments insofar as not changing my MS, I am still reading her comments and taking time to think/look at alternatives before moving on.
    x
     
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  16. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributing Member

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    That is...not what an editor is supposed to do. Sweet baby Jesus. For sure they should be making suggestions and explaining why something does or doesn't work for them, but they for sure shouldn't be making their own changes to the text - especially ones that change the narrative. I would absolutely consider her your ex-editor.
     
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  17. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, if she's not charging you then, whatever, read them over and decide. But remember whose book it is! (Hint: not hers...)
     
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  18. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Thanks.

    That's what I'm doing. I won't lie, it's knocked my confidence by miles. So while I'm going through it all, I'm trying to get back on the horse too.
     
  19. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I agree with the noise here; she doesn't sound like an editor, more a backseat author. Take what you agree with, ignore the rest, and don't let it dent your ego.
     
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  20. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    So hypothetically - if a writer is all over the shop - repeats paragraph three in paragraph five, for example, and calls a pal in to edit the story - who then points out these dilemmas - well then, the pal should piss off - and leave the writer alone.

    ...which is the answer, I think so. Maybe if a writer approached something 'Writers' Bureau' she would be more amenable to progress. It's like this Trump thing - the more people point out flaws the more other people cling to the viewpoint.
     
  21. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I don't have a problem with having flaws pointed out, not at all. I have a problem with her changing the story, changing my characters, telling me the WRONG information, telling me to change character's names because she doesn't like them, telling my the Oxford comma doesn't exist, taking out all my closing commas IN DIALOGUE, changing "said" to words like shouted/demanded/argued/pleaded/begged ... etc, changing TENSE, adding the word 'suddenly' when I don't want to use the damn word suddenly!
     
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  22. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Turn the situation round. She's sat in front of a draft - and off the top of her head - used the 'commentary' function on Word. Seethe privately, come here. But be grateful for her time. Like others said she didn't write it, but input could still be useful.

    Also - you have a real passion [and humour] to/for your storytelling, so stay strong - you're doing all right :/
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  23. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree - and yes, there have been some useful comments (which I did mention earlier).

    I have thanked her (a lot) for her time etc etc, but I think I'll be looking for a different editor on my next project.
     
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  24. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This may differ by country and I notice you are saying ER which is what they are called in the US. Aren't they called A&E in the UK? If the story takes place in the US, the nurses may actually do more than they do in the UK. In shows like House, they have it backward, with the residents doing nursing tasks they would never be doing.

    A resident would have a different educational history from a nurse so hopefully you aren't fixing one problem and creating another.

    If you want to PM me the tasks I can tell you who would do what in the US. If it takes place in the UK, you might want to ask an A&E nurse rather than relying on the editor.

    They are adult siblings, I see no logic in the editor's choices.

    You have certainly described an editor with personal preferences interfering with the job an editor is tasked to do. Yes, an editor might suggest story changes, but not something like which flight a person takes or the fact a two yr old is assigned a seat. Those are not relevant changes. Neither is remaking your character to fit the editor's vision.

    A correction about something technical like what tasks are within a nurse's scope of practice would be relevant, if the editor was correct. But not which flights currently go out of Heathrow. No reader is going to say, that's not correct.

    All of that sounds like very bad form. I don't see why you'd let an obviously poor editor make you feel like it's your writing that is bad.
     
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  25. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributing Member

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    It sounds like rather than offering editing services, she's approached it more like co-writing. I'm not surprised that she's no a professional editor, because much of what you've described above pushes editorial boundaries.

    I say this as someone who decided to toss and/or re-write a third of my novel because of a very astute recommendation from my editor. Her suggestion to change from a dual POV to single POV was a fairly major one, but she didn't delete the secondary POV or attempt any re-writing. She just pointed out what about the dual POV didn't work for her (very uneven and usually trotted out as a convenience to infodump on the reader), and it was up to me to fix it or not. As hard as it was to give up my other MC's POV, it made the story 100% better and a lot more polished.
     
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