Tag Archives: working with an editor

An Editor Changed Your Work. Now What?

Working with an editor can be a funny thing. Often, a writer will send work to an editor, ostensibly understanding the purpose of the editorial process—that is, to make the work tighter, clearer, better.

But then, once the editor returns the work, the writer is appalled to find that it’s different from what he or she submitted. The editor has made changes to the text! What audacity!

Of course, if the editor didn’t make changes, then there wouldn’t be much point to the editing process at all. Still, seeing your manuscript marked up with red ink can be a little vexing; you obviously have an emotional attachment to your work, and while you want it to be the best it can be, you also want it to hold true to your original vision.

So what should a writer do upon receiving significant changes from an editor? Here are our tips.

Coping with Editorial Changes

First, analyze the changes. Take some time to really go through the revisions and to consider why they were made. You may even need to give yourself a day or two of distance, to get your emotions in check. What you’ll probably find, though, is that the changes were made to render the work clear and concise. Your editor is on the same team, after all, and just wants your writing to shine. Chances are, the changes made don’t alter your original message; most are probably relatively minor things that just make the work that much better.

Choose your battles. With that said, you don’t want to go to war with your editor over every tiny revision made to your manuscript—but if you feel like the changes actually alter the message or spirit of your work, or miss the point of it altogether, that’s when you should push back—gently! Which brings us to…

Be kind! No need to blow your stack and send the editor a nasty email. Instead, be polite and clear in articulating why you’re not comfortable with the changes. Explain your intention with the work, and then how those changes compromise your vision. More likely than not, your editor will be able to work with you to find a good place to meet in the middle.

Remember that an editor’s revisions are suggestions, not prescriptions. It’s still your work, and nobody’s forcing you to accept changes you’re just not comfortable with. You can graciously decline a piece of feedback that you feel misses the point of your work. With that said, if you find yourself declining every suggested change, that may be a sign that you’re not getting the most out of the writer-editor relationship.

Work with a Good Editor

Of course, it goes without saying that working with a qualified and competent editor is key. At Grammar Chic, Inc., our editors are effective at making your words shine—without changing the character of your work altogether. Learn more. Call us for a consultation at 803-831-7444, or reach out through www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Work Well with an Editor (And Maybe Even Enjoy It)

Writers know that they need editors to provide an unbiased assessment of their work; to bring precision and focus; and to help shape and mold the writing until it’s as perfect as can be, ready for public consumption.

They know it—but they don’t always like it.

And it’s not hard to understand why. Your writing is personal, and you have every reason to feel proud of it. Having a third party come in and start making changes can feel a little bit like a personal attack, though of course it isn’t.

With that said, you can have a fruitful and enjoyable experience working with an editor—whether on a piece of fiction or on the copy you’ve written for your business website.

Here are some suggestions we’d offer.

Get Along with Your Editor

Remember that your editor is on your side. You and your editor both have the exact same goal in mind: To produce the best piece of written content possible. You may be coming at it from different perspectives, but you ultimately want the same thing—so remember that criticisms you receive aren’t personal attacks. They’re honest attempts to make the work better.

Be open minded. Go into the process assuming that your editor’s suggestions are reasonable and worth considering. That doesn’t mean you have to act on every single one of them. It just means you should let them sit for a while rather than dismissing them out of hand. Even suggestions that initially strike you as ludicrous may reveal themselves to be really smart when you really give them a chance.

Give yourself some time and space. After you receive feedback from an editor, step away from your work for a day or two. Don’t rush to any judgments. Just allow yourself time and distance to make an informed and thoughtful decision.

Don’t fear that you’ll lose control. A good editor isn’t going to rewrite your work. A good editor will offer you guidelines for making it better—but you’ll always be in the driver’s seat, and it will always be your vision. You don’t have to worry that the work’s going to become something else altogether. And if you do have an editor who rewrites everything in his or her own image, well, that’s when it’s time to find a better editor.

Remember that editors are people, too. A good editor will be right much of the time, but not all the time. You probably shouldn’t ignore all your editor’s feedback, but pushing back against an item or two is perfectly reasonable.

Communicate. Ask questions. Get clarification. Try to find out why an editor is making his or her suggestions. Communication is key to any relationship, including the one between writer and editor.

Start a Productive Relationship Today

One more thing: It really is important to find a good, experienced editor. We’d love to talk with you about our own editorial lineup. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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