When you’re not scared of edits, there’s a certain pleasure that happens from seeing the edits that were made by your collaborators. You forget what you specifically wrote or changed. You look at what’s in front of you, and you think, ‘wow, this is really coming together!’ Today, I started editing a story taking place within ENDLESS WAR somewhere around 12:30pm and wrapped up my edits through chapter three at 2:12pm. Here are thsome thoughts.
When you work as writer and editor, you have to build up a rapport first.
Let’s say you’re writing a story and I’m editing it. I’d start by asking you how much editing you want. Do you really want me to edit it? Or do you want me to stroke your ego? If you want me to edit it, I’ll start light, because half the time when people say they want me to edit their work, they’re telling me their truth, but their truth was lying to them. If they feel offended over minor changes, then the editing process is not worth it for me.
You have to get over the feeling of sacredness with your work.
Now, that doesn’t mean rolling over to your editor. You can still reject changes and go your own way. That’s what I did with Novel 01. My editor did end up doing light edits through the rest of the novel, so we hadn’t really built up the writing and editing rapport necessary to really dig in. That’s a failure on my part. Here’s how I think writer/editor processes should go, going forward, and how it’s going for this story I’m editing now. Along with asking about the level of editing, I also asked about perspective.
Is this a third-person limited/subjective or omnipotent/objective?
In the examples of Novel 01 and Novel 02, my writing is from Sammohini’s perspective. If Sammohini doesn’t know what’s going on in the next room over, then I will not include it, even if I know what’s going from my planning or brainstorming on as the writer. Let’s give a hypothetical. Let’s say Sammohini is talking to her coworker Hank about being worried about being fired. Let’s say, then, Sammohini’s boss Linda is talking with the department director Lisa about how she wants to give Sammohini a promotion. From a subjective perspective, I would not let on that Sammohini would be getting a promotion. Instead, I would follow Sammohini as she felt insecure and worried about being fired.
These are the sorts of things that might be difficult to talk about at first.
When I wrote Novel 01, I included non-traditional writing choices. Characters stumbled over their words in the traditional s-stutters, but I also gave them typos wehn thye were rr-e-r-eeally anxious. These are difficult to parse through, and I have received this as a criticism, however, I feel that this more closely matches what happens in reality. I detest the sort of dialogue I read in some books that are pitch-perfect in all forms. Maybe it’s a bias because I talk like some kind of weird amalgamation of several real-life and online cultures, but my writing reflects my interpretation of reality, or, how a character might interpret reality.
Let’s say you build that writer/editor rapport.
When I was first editing this story, I was marking my changes clearly, so the writer could see what I was modifying. I believe this is an important first step. Let’s say the writer is a sculptor of a stone figure. Let’s then say the editor will polish up the stone figure. If the visions of the writer and editor don’t match up, the writer might interpret the figure one way while the editor might interpret the figure in another way. If there are fundamental disagreements over what the figure looks like, then it won’t work. However, if the writer and editor both agree on an idea of what the figure looks like, then the writer and editor can chisel equally toward their shared idea of how the stone figure should look.
When that happens, then it’s cool to see the changes.
This morning, from around 3am to 5am, after concluding my round of editings of the second chapter, I saw the third chapter was left on a tentative note. How would it progress? I was feeling particularly ambitious, so I wrote chapter three based on what I thought would propel the story in a good direction. I went to bed and woke up to an edited version of my chapter three that was better than what I had written. It was cool seeing the changes made by the writer-turned-editor. I went through and edited the edits made by the writer-turned-editor, and I’m sure that there will be edits to the work done by the editor-turned-writer.
These sorts of changes are made to improve the work.
There was a section that I edited and rewrote in chapter two. I included a note to the writer explaining that I didn’t like how the section went because I felt it went against character. The writer kept a majority of this change, but kept a line that he liked from that section to reuse later. When we hold sacred the entirety, that’s where editing cannot be done. We should respect our work, but that respect should go toward receiving edits, deciding if they fit or don’t fit our work, and working toward making them better.
If a joke doesn’t land somewhere, then try it elsewhere.
If one section of particularly poetic prose presents problems, perhaps save that section for later. If you’ve gone over it enough times yourself, with your editors, and with readers, then maybe you can consider the work perfect, but until then, you shouldn’t fear the changed in the last edited by section. You should look at changes as definite or possible improvements. It’s OK to toss out the possible improvements after considering them. If you want definite improvements, however, it’s tough.
Some edits may offend your perfection perspective and that’s OK!
|Sources: My personal experiences, although some professional experiences apply, I guess.|
|Inspirations: This is an accidental sequel to “Scared Of Edits?” with a different perspective.|
|Related: Other Applied Self-Confidence essays.|
|Picture: I was going to use my template, but instead I used LunaPic to edit the squirrel photo from the first essay into an ENDLESS WAR-style squirrel.|
|Written On: 2020 May 23 [4:20hahahyeahbropm to 4:56pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 May 23 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|