Society is falling to a ravaging virus, and the Peacemaker family is stranded in the mountains of Arkansas. Forced to band with a group of deserted soldiers, they battle to survive starvation, apocalyptic cataclysms, and a growing number of dangerously infected wanderers.
As their dwindling number struggles against ever-increasing odds, they realize they are not alone in the wilderness. A large creature is present in the hills, at first seen only as a fleeting shadow.
Now the family not only faces impending death from the unstoppable virus, they must also deal with the mysterious giant, whose footprints signify that he knows where they are.
Editing 101: Why I Never Argue with My Editor (or My Publisher)
by Eric Trant
So let me ask you this: Do you argue with your editor? How about your publisher? Your critique partners? Your fellow writers?
My advice is to stop arguing. You can take my advice if you like, or you can argue why you ~should~ argue, which is sort of ironic, and would, also ironically, illustrate my point.
It happens like this: Your editor finds a page full of passive ~was~ constructs. She marks up your script with comments, highlights the flurry of passives, and states the publisher’s preference for active-tense constructs. She then explains why it is better to say, He ran, rather than, He was running.
You have three choices when facing an Editor (or Critique Partner/Group)
- Argue: This path distracts you from more important matters, and wastes valuable intellectual capital on something that really (trust me) does not matter. Argue if you want, but readers truly, absolutely do not care about passive constructs, or whether you used too many of them. We can all quote best-sellers that employ those terrible habits the editors pick on, but that argument becomes moot, based on the following two remaining choices you have. Furthermore, the editor has enough to worry over without your whining.
If this is a critique group/partner, it becomes a circular forum. Odds are that none of you are trained as an editor, and if you feel the need to argue, you probably do not know what you are talking about anyway. Knowledgeable people are generally silent and calm. It’s the other kind who bully the table.
- Accept: Probably the simplest thing is to just do what your editor wants. She has transformed quite a few horrible books into readable, enjoyable escapes. So you would do well to shut your hole, still your fingers, and offer a grateful, sincere Thank You for her useful advice. Odds are 100:1 that she is right, and you are wrong. Furthermore, she knows the publisher’s preferences, and can better align your novel with the other books on the publisher’s shelf. You don’t want to be that one book written in omniscient head-skipping point-of-view, beside thirteen other books written in first-person present. Listen. Obey. That is your easiest route.
If this is a critique group/partner, be careful accepting changes you do not understand. If the change makes sense, change it. If not, proceed to #3.
- Compromise (or Reject): This one is a bit trickier than the other two. You may be tempted to argue your points, but as an editor, she probably does not care. She already deals with authors who berate her with the finer points of writing, such as why it is all right to spell all right as alright. I have compromised on this point. I did not argue whether alright is a word, because that is an empty bottle of water. Instead, we compromised her edit within the context of dialogue, owing to the Southern nature of my stories, while still using all right within the main body of the text. I had a point, she had a point, and we met in the middle. No argument occurred, and if she had held her ground, I would have moved to #2. Why? Because readers truly, absolutely do not care.
If this is a critique group, you need to remember they are not trained in the manner of an editor. They may be critical readers, and their opinions matter, but for these groups, I approach any edit skeptically. You need to understand if it is a preference (Ugh, I did not like the first-person present. Boring. Change it.) v. a genuine edit (Lost track of the POV. Whose head are we in, Sarah or Jeremy?). I would still employ an Accept/Reject/Compromise strategy, rather than ping-ponging why I made my construct choices. You may open the topic for a group discussion, but avoid ~arguing~. That is never constructive. Make your point. Consider theirs. Move along.
You have one choice when facing a Publisher
- Shut up: Make the edit.
|Source:||WOW! Women on Writing|
|Publisher & Date:||WiDo Publishing (May 21, 2015)|
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