Editing Gems

This last weekend, Gingersgroup have been having an impromptu editing workshop. Some of what was demanded of the authors in altering their stories were examined and discussed.

Some excellent writers and acquisition editors, among them, Ginger Simpson, Maryann Miller, Sloane Taylor, Lisabet Sarai, Lea Schizaz, Cheryl Wright, Chris Redding, all contributed and came up with some real gems they had come across in edits. Such as:

..........it almost seems SOME editors are trying to make our stories into truth rather than what we intend. I always thought being a fiction writer gave you freedoms to express yourself in your writing, but with each year, more independence is snatched away and the box of conformity gets smaller and smaller. Anyone else feel that? Some of the smaller houses have rules that mimic mainstream. I know I certainly feel the competition tightening in the six years since I debuted.

..........my publisher didn’t like the blue windbreaker. She wanted windbreaker. She didn’t want the burgundy recliner, she wanted recliner. So I dropped the color, and now I have a windbreaker and a recliner. I don’t necessarily agree, but, hey! she’s the publisher, and in the long run, it isn’t that important.

..........my gumtrees and kookaburras being changed to generic trees and birds, and with a child character’s mode of address to his mother – Mam – being persistently changed.

..........I’ve had dialect words removed, and three-year-olds made to speak in proper syntax.

.......... changed the pies and cordial my blue collar children chose to buy in the shop to cookies and juice. The book was set in Tasmania, and blue collar children here do NOT buy cookies and juice. They buy pies and cordial. The editor asked if I’d agree to “soda” instead of cordial. I couldn’t go with that either, as no Australian child would drink soda. It is (a) a caustic substance for cleaning and (b) a strong alkali for softening water and (c) a rather sour-tasting fizzy water. Australian children of that time and place, drank cordial, or sometimes milkshakes, orange or apple juice - but never, 'soda' or 'juice'.

Ginger hopes to stage some more discussions like this for all authors and aspiring authors to join in. Do drop by if you feel this could be of some interest - she welcomes new members.

My apologies for not attributing the comments - but the discussion became fast a furious and I cherry-picked a few for the illustration here.


Anne Gilbert said…

I dunno what's going on here, but it sounds awfully silly. OTOH, many editors get things that arejust too "overwritten". I mean, you want enough description so that the reader will get some sense of whatever place, time, and people you're writing about, but not so much that you drown in it. It's a very fine line, and it's possible some of these editors have just seen "too much", and are exceedingly tired of it.

just my 2 cents/pence,
Anne G
Ginger Simpson said…
Thanks for the plug...my loop is only as great as the authors who join. Thanks for sending some more my way. *smile*


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