Monday, March 18, 2013


I do a fair amount of freelance work.  It's interesting, fun, and helps pay the bills.  I also learn a lot (and I'm a born learner). Sometimes it's stressful like when your deadline is looming and people aren't getting back to you (like corporate PR departments).  But generally I like it a lot.

But one thing I don't like is when the person publishing my story edits it a lot.  Now editing is an important function.  They can catch errors I didn't (I am a lousy proofreader, especially of my own work).  But sometimes they change something significantly.

For instance, in a story I wrote for a local magazine, I said of a rancher "His three children, all daughters, have gone separate ways. . . ."  The editor changed it to, "His three daughters aren’t involved in ranching. . . ."  Okay, it's more concise to say "His three daughters" rather than "His three children, all daughters."  But "have gone separate ways" is much more descriptive than "aren't involved in ranching."  So, to me, it would have been better to say, "His three daughters have gone separate ways . . ."

On one recent story about a businessman, this same editor massacred my description of his car that he spent a lot of time boasting about.  I thought it was a good reflection on his personality.  Apparently she didn't.

Having someone edit your work and change it extensively is like having someone tattoo your children.  I don't enjoy it.  But I guess it's just the price I pay for doing freelance.

Now with my fiction publisher, I work with the editor.  And sometimes we have to agree to disagree.  But at least she listens to me and she's trying to bring out my style, not bend it to her will.

I guess as long as I'm doing freelance I'm going to have to deal with editing.

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