Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When An Editor Asks....

A Kansas Sunset

You can't change a sunset like this. No editing in nature. But you can change, or edit, your writing. You can do it before you submit your work to the eyes of an editor, agent, or publisher. You can do it after one of them asks for some changes in what you've written.

Recently, I sent a story for children to an editor. She wrote back that she liked the story a great deal, even pointed out the specific thngs she liked, but she didn't like the way the story ended. She invited me to work out a new ending and resubmit. 

It took me awhile to come up with a different conclusion for the story. Maybe it was because I liked the original ending and didn't really want to change it. I woke up in the middle of the night a few days later and before long, a new ending came to me. I wrote it the next day, waited a day until I was satisfied with it and sent it to the editor.

Within a short time, she contacted me with an offer to purchase, saying she thought the new ending was great. Well, guess what? I still like the original ending best, but if I want the story to be published, it's going to have to be with the new version. 

What should you do when an editor asks you to change something in your submission? You have options:

   1.  You can flatly refuse and submit elsewhere
   2.  You can argue with the editor to show why you want it left as is
   3.  You can agree to do the revisions and resubmit

If you choose either 1 or 2 in the list above, you risk cutting your connection with that editor. You may be labeled as an 'uncooperative writer.' That editor may or may not want to see more of your work. That would depend on the type of individual they are. If you have a longstanding relationship and suddenly decide to not give in to the editor, you may still come out OK. But it's possible that you'll be burning your bridges behind you. Still, it's your choice. 

Selecting number 3 may make the editor happy, probably makes publication more certain. If you can do this, you'll probably come out ahead, even though you might still like the version you wrote first better. Keep the goal of publication in mind. 

The funny thing about my story that ended up with a new ending is that I had entered it in our state authors contest with the original ending. It won first place in the Stories for Children category. Same story, two versions and yet both came out winners in their own way. 

Before you decide whether or not to go with an editing request, give it some thought. Don't say yes or no in a hurry. We all have immediate reactions to such a request, but take the time to look at it from several angles. 

1 comment:

  1. It's always about your goal, and if publication in a particular place is it, editors get to choose because it's their publication. If the goal is to keep the story the same, you just go look for somewhere else, I suppose. I am generally pretty easy-going about edits, but I'm not submitting fiction, which I think would be easier to get "attached" to.