Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Insecure Writers Support Group- Love Thy Editors!
The summer is finally with us! Is everyone enjoying the sunshine?
I'd like to quickly start this entry by updating from the last time I posted- I'd like to thank those of you who left a kind word regarding my situation, and I did indeed take a little time off as needed (hence no June blog post). I'm not out of the woods yet, but I am now taking medication and feeling a lot, lot better- and I will be doing some more posts over July, as we have some exciting developments just around the corner!
I'm doing this a teeeeny bit early, but I intend to catch up with Top Gear tomorrow morning, and then I have work in the evening, which makes it a bit tricky to get online to type out blogposts. But anyhoo, onto this month's IWSG topic:
Love Thy Editors
I think the reason why some would-be writers out there shy away from submitting pieces is because they fear bad feedback from, or losing creative control to editors. I won't lie, there was a time when I felt wary of submitting my own work. I was worried that at best, I would be forced to change my work to suit the whims of a corporate suit, at worst, would have my confidence utterly shattered by someone behind a desk, completely blasting my ability and making me want to never pick up a pen again (I am dramatic :P)
I'm extremely happy to say (and I imagine many others will too) that all of my experiences with editors have been completely positive. Even from my earliest days starting out with EGL Magazine, right up to my most recent experiences with Hic Dragones, every editor I have ever worked with has been an amazing person who I have been happy to work with. Oh, I'm sure there are less than brilliant editors out there, but as someone who used to be so wary of negative experiences, and knowing there are others that feel that way, I thought that for this month's IWSG I would give the hard-working editors out there a little bit of love! It's got to be a difficult job, and one I'm not sure I could do, so I think it's important to appreciate the vital work they do to make our stories super shiny for book-pages.
If you're a new writer who is nervous of editors, this is why you shouldn't be:
1) They already like your work
If you are passed over for a submission (which will undoubtedly happen at some point, and you mustn't feel too bad about it, because it happens to everyone), you won't receive a cruel email telling you to go back to school, so don't worry about something like that happening. If you are successful, however, you mustn't be nervous of what comes next- you were picked because they liked your work! The editors know what they're looking for in a good story, and they certainly wouldn't be wasting their precious time on editing your story if they didn't think it was worth the time and effort.
2) They are improving on what they already have
While all publishers are expecting clean manuscripts when they receive submissions, they aren't expecting refined, polished gold. They know it will need work. That's where the editors come in. Think of your story as a rough diamond that needs to be sanded, buffed and polished before it can become the gem it's meant to be. That's what the editors do. Any suggestions or changes they make are there to improve the flow of your story, and make it the best it can possibly be, not to change your story and make it something else entirely. They also won't make huge changes without putting them towards you first, and will always keep you involved in what they are doing. Work together with your editor, and your story will shine.
3) You will learn from them!
I've learned a lot about my writing habits from things pointed out by editors. I am already quite aware of my typos, but that's not a major issue :P (not in blogging anyway!). One bad habit I used to have was the overuse of the ellipsis for dramatic tension...unfortunately, overuse led to disruption in the flow of the writing, and also lessened the dramatic affect I had been aiming for. This was pointed out to me by an editor, and she certainly didn't make her point harshly. Every single experience I have had with an editor has been positive and beneficial to me, and I've learned something every time. Ultimately, this makes me a better writer, and improves the quality of the writing.
I often worry more about being a difficult writer for an editor to work with, rather than finding my editor to be difficult- I always have things set out and imagined in my head just so, and when I was younger I wasn't particularly receptive to criticism (in hindsight, this was mainly because most criticism I was received wasn't particularly constructive). So far, I have found all feedback completely helpful and beneficial, have found editors happy to work with me, and ultimately do a great job with the finished manuscript.
So what else can I say? Don't fear the editors. They have a very hard job, but its them who gets our stories down onto paper and onto bookshelves. To any new and anxious writers out there, don't be afraid to allow them to improve on your work- they are professionals and they know what they are doing!
And as for the editors, well, every single editor I have worked with has been a real delight to work with. I thank you all for being awesome :D
Right, well, I'll be back soon with some more updates, please stay tuned and enjoy the weather!