When to Put Your Foot Down (in Editing)

October 1, 2018

The Galleys for Den came in this past week, and that means: proofreading.

 

Lots of it.

 

 As I went through all 290 pages in small font glory, the publisher wanted me to mark any inconsistencies or corrections needed in the manuscript.

 

The editors did a remarkable job throughout for the most part (minus the hyphen mishap on book-bag versus book bag), but one of the editors did forget a race of one of the characters and the fact another one was a vegetarian (she had his breath smelling like meat . . . which would make it difficult given his diet).

 

Other than that, I felt the editors throughout the process tried their best to keep the voice intact while presenting the best story possible. But I did wonder, as I read through proofreads, if I had been a bit too complacent with some changes.

 

You may recall from a previous blog post about how I wanted to grin and bear my way through the content edit. This led me to accept most of the changes the editor suggested. But I did learn a lot about when I would put my foot down the next time (fingers crossed) a publisher accepts my novel.

 

When to Put Your Foot Down: When the Voice No Longer Sounds Like Your Own

 

 Danny, the main character, is a Christian. Although that does not impact most of the story, my editor felt as if I did not allude to his faith enough in the first half of the book. 

 

Most of her advice for how to ease those details in fit perfectly. However, some of the dialogue suggestions felt stilted and unlike Danny.

 

I asked if we could use some of the changes but not the ones that didn't sound like him. She agreed.

 

When to Put Your Foot Down: When the Edits will Change a Major Plot Point

I should add a caveat, genuinely consider the edit suggested before discarding it. For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald's editor advised him to take out a significant portion of info dumping at the beginning of The Great Gatsby (article on the process here). If he hadn't, it wouldn't be the Great American Novel it has become.

 

 

But if the edit will be detrimental to the story (I'm not talking dress color; I've had an author argue with me over this change in his story), consider putting your foot down. 

 

 

When to Put Your Foot Down: When the Editor Doesn't Have Your Best Interests at Heart

Tricky when you're contracted, but we've all had that critique group partner who just wanted to bash your work to feel better about themselves.

 

Avoid at all costs necessary. Here are some other ways to spot a bad editor

 

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