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View Full Version : Editor Needs HELP!!!



stevejohnson
01-11-2007, 08:03 AM
I am in the process of editing an anthology - 1880's Western - and I have a writer that has a good storyline, but her writing style leaves a lot to be desired. I know the lady is a full grown adult, but her sentance phrasings suggest she's writing a tweenie's swords & sorcery fantasy.

I've tried editing phrases - offering alternate wording, showing her where she needs to expand or contract the story, pointed out holes in the story and even asked two others to review the story hoping this would help the writer.

Any suggestions other than flat out dropping her from the project?

Steve

BarbaraSheridan
01-11-2007, 08:12 AM
It seems as though this story needs an awful lot of work.

Is the author not willing to revise?

PeeDee
01-11-2007, 09:07 AM
It sounds like she's willing, but she's not quite "getting" it.

You can drop her and I'll send you my lonely western story that's gathering dust. :D

Barring that, why not suggest that she swing by here and do something with the SYW area? The people there are damned good, they could help anyone.

Otherwise, I haven't a suggestion, I'm afraid. Storyline just isn't everything. If the writing isn't there, then the storyline is just bare bones standing around and shivering in the cold. If she can't make it better than that, perhaps she's not ready for publication yet. I don't see where you'd have a choice but to drop her, which is unfortunate.

rugcat
01-11-2007, 09:10 AM
It's possible she simply hasn't the ability to make the proper changes, or even recognize what changes are necessary when they're pointed out. I've seen people in writing groups with this problem. Contrary to most people's belief, not everyone can write.

Could you suggest a co-author who would share the byline? Someone who can write. Emphasize the the importance of her wonderful storyline and suggest she might need help with the "mechanics" of writing. If the option is that or nothing, she might go for it.

jchines
01-11-2007, 06:40 PM
How blunt have you been with her about exactly what isn't working for you?

For the anthology I edited, I went back and forth with one author at least four times. There were parts that didn't work for me, but there were other parts I loved enough to invest the extra work. But sometimes in trying to be "professional" and not crush the writer, I found myself wanting to tone down my suggestions.

Also, if you're doing this via e-mail, a phone call might help. It's a bit easier to explain on the phone, and you'll get a better sense whether the author gets it.

Meerkat
01-11-2007, 07:07 PM
Tell her EXACTLY what you just shared with us! Most of us would love to receive that sort of feedback (what to do to MAKE the submission acceptable) rather than the "wasn't exactly what we were looking for" sort of answer. You'll be doing her an immense favor.

Julie Worth
01-11-2007, 07:45 PM
A good storyline, but with holes? And can't write or take direction? In that case I'd suggest she needs to add gay cowboys with lots of raunchy sex, hoping she'll find the door on her on.

PeeDee
01-11-2007, 07:46 PM
A good storyline, but with holes? And can't write or take direction? In that case I'd suggest she needs to add gay cowboys with lots of raunchy sex, hoping she'll find the door on her on.

......You terrify me. Why aren't you ruling the world?

veinglory
01-11-2007, 07:53 PM
Honestly, if the writer isn't bring the bulk of the writing talent, or at least an adult level of ability--why keep them? I think it is great that you want to help her develop but if she isn't stepping up with alacrity why not move on and find a contributor who will? Even as a writer I must say, there isn;t a shortage of people who already have a ful set of skills.

Julie Worth
01-11-2007, 08:05 PM
Honestly, if the writer isn't bring the bulk of the writing talent, or at least an adult level of ability--why keep them?

Nothing Steve said rules out the possibility that the lady is his wife.

Kate Thornton
01-11-2007, 08:34 PM
Nothing Steve said rules out the possibility that the lady is his wife.

Okay - that's a scary idea...family in your anthologies is pretty frightening.

But barring a personal relationship with the lady (a complication indeed!) I would say if the writing is not up to standard and can't be brought there with a minimum of editorial effort, then the item must be dropped.

Lots of folks have great ideas for stories (Just ask 'em!) but you need a *writer* for an anthology.