Friday, January 4, 2013

Jumping on the "editor post" bandwagon.

The past couple of days have seen some fantastic posts by friends, Billie Sue Mosiman and Armand Rosamilia about editors and the indie scene (I highly recommend reading them for yourself). Likewise, I have met the good and the bad. Horror stories about editors are a dime a dozen down in Indie-Land. As a person who does a bit of editing (over 50 anthologies and novels to date), I have to say it is one of the LEAST glamorous aspects to this business.

I would have to say that I fall into the "copy editor" bracket. What I do is clean up spelling, punctuation, and keep an eye out for evil homonyms, synonyms, and homophones. Also, I keep an eye out for continuity such as when a character suddenly and illegally changes his name, or is something that was to the left, left, left suddenly appears on the right.

On some occasions, if I am working with a writer and they have a particularly awkward phrase, I contact them and make suggested changes that they can keep or discard. In the end, I am of the belief that it is his or her story and they can accept or reject anything I propose.

This brings me to what I believe is the strength of the new writing revolution: unique voices.

We have all seen the homogenization of Hollywood these past years. Nobody seems willing to take a risk. While it is certainly true that there is a swamp of VERY bad work out there...I believe that there is some amazing talent. Much of it would have been bypassed (or has been) by the traditional publishers. The stories lack the warm-and-fuzzy endings that are so common in the annals of the "Big Six" release schedule.

While I do believe that an editor should be able to convey suggestions to the writer, the indie scene has set the old way of doing things on its ear. Of course, that is just one man's opinion. This is a debate that has much more gray than black or white. One thing is for sure, writers should always seek outside eyes that are not afraid to point out flaws. Sure, nobody likes criticism, but in this business, if you can't tolerate a voice of dissent, then you are playing on the wrong field.

6 comments:

  1. I've had 6 editors spanned out over 16 or so books. A couple of them are worthy of their own horror novels although with all the mistakes it would be a tough read to get through. Being an indie and at one point never having sold a book, I really didn't even know what editing was all about. I re-read my first novel 9 times, figured I had it nailed by then. Yeah...not so much. Got crucified on some early reviews, almost hung up my quill and ink at that point. So we (the missus and I) bit the bullet and hired a wannabe editor, I'm not saying she was horrible, but she wanted to be an editor like I wanted to be a writer, we were both green. She did clean up that first book thankfully and I soldiered on. But as I garnered more readers, the cracks in her editing armor began to show, reluctantly we moved on, every time we thought we had a keeper something would go awry. And then...the angels sang, people rejoiced, I found Todd. I think we're three books in now and his work has been awesome. Our goal is to actually have him go through my entire library and give the books a thorough cleaning. Listen I know editing isn't glamorous, I personally effing hate doing it, but I love what you do Todd. Knowing what I know now please if you take anything away from this post, if you are an indie and you want to self-pub DO NOT think you can edit, you can't. It is a specialized skill-set done by extremely talented people. (Some of them anyway, do your research) So again thank you Todd.

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    1. And my thanks to Mark and Tracy for having the belief in me to entrust something so valuable and personal like Mark's work. One chief advantage...I now get to see Mark's new stuff BEFORE the rest of his rabid fans!

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  2. It drives me batty when a book just doesn't seem like it should end with "and they all lived happily ever after" and you can tell the author forced it.

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