Insecure Writers Support Group. Welcome! My fellow group members and I are here for you and each other. Below you'll find a list of the other cool participants. Last time I talked about my fear of having everything I write suck. Today I'm going to talk about revisions, which I know can suck out loud and sideways.
We do everything possible to ensure that our story is in the best shape possible and hey, it's been accepted. However, we have to be prepared to make changes and revisions no matter what. It's inevitable, like Republicans complaining about Democrats.
Editors will still find basic structure problems like pacing, weak prose, dialogue that is stilted and places where your main character waffles and steps out of herself. We are not perfect writers and our manuscripts, no matter how much we love them and have had other eyes look them over, are not perfect either. But that's okay, it's part of the routine, NOT that your writing sucks.
However, instead of those structural edits, I'm focusing on those revisions and changes in content. The ones that require you to alter your actual story, the most painful, horrific edits of all, in my opinion.
The editor knows their publishing house, know their readers and they will ask for changes accordingly. WHAT!! New to the business writers always seem to have a problem with this one. They always tell me there is no effing way they will allow anyone to destroy the vibe of their book. It's their story, damn it, their heart, their soul, their baby. "I know," I sympathize. "And you've already argued with your crit partners and beta readers about things, too. You can't possibly make one more single change. Period." "Damn straight." They nod fiercely, convinced of the superiority of this mindset. I hate to crush them, but that is oh so wrong and let me count the ways.
That love story in your political thriller that you insist is mere background, well your editor feels it should be played up more to add some additional flavor to the main characters. Oh and think two suspects is enough in your cozy mystery? Think again. You now have to add two more. The battle sequence in the desert was surely long enough at a thousand words. No, no, the editor thinks it should last longer, more to the tune of another two thousand words. Prefer a bare bones description of that European seaside village? Wait, your editor wants you to put the readers right there like they are looking at a guidebook.
Some changes will even come for marketing purposes. Like that title you so love and painstakingly labored over. It may not fit with their overall promotion scheme and will have to go. Gasp! Yes, your superfantastic Fires of Darkness is now Hot Nights. This kind of stuff happens all the time and you have to remember that it is no reflection on your skill as a writer or your ability to name your own kids.
Now, are there times where you can completely disagree with an editor and be heard? Heck yeah. You absolutely do not have to accept all those changes if you feel it threatens your voice. Ah, but here's where you have to be your most calm, though. In spite of the seething mass of roiling rage within your veins, you must be ice and civility. No one will listen to a crazed writer who is alternately screaming and crying unless you have a gun to their heads, but that's another story.
The bottom line is we as writers have to suck it up for this stage on our road to publication. Pretty shitty advice, I know. But, we want our babies published more than anything and the editors hold the magic key. It behooves us to listen. At the end of the day, they are only looking to ensure that our best possible work goes out there. I survive this part by commiserating with my fellow writers. So feel free to call me up or just pop on over here and tell me about those big bad editors and how they are ruining your masterpiece.