Wednesday, November 18, 2015

All the edits, and so little time - Pick your battles and hills to die on

Since my edits came in for The Mill before I'd officially started blogging, I decided to not write on it at that time. But now, edits for Sway's Demise are in, and by god, they're good.
Also, hello, long time no see. I'm sorry I've been so absent. I promise to do better and write to you more =)

Step one in receiving edits - Don't get mad, bro

You just paid someone to read your work and tell you what they think, not tell you what you want to hear. If you want to pay someone to tell you what you want to hear, you should buy a hooker. Hmmm that was a bit dark. Anyway.
Do not get upset when you're reading the feedback from your editor(s). You have paid them (maybe) to help you, and that is what they're trying their damndest to do. They don't want to purposefully hurt your feelings after you've given them money (or trusted them to give them a free copy instead of payment):
A) It's bad for them. If you think they're just going to take a dump on you every time, you will likely find someone else to edit your works, unless you're a sadist... but that's another topic for another time.
B) It's exhausting to write feedback. They're not going to go through all of that out of spite. They're doing it to provide you with some kind of valuable takeaways, so you'll want to use them in the future.

This, of course, isn't to say once you start reading through the feedback you can't feel hurt for a bit. I do because there's ALWAYS something that needs to change. I mostly laugh at my misspellings/grammar errors, as I feel like such a derp (but very grateful they were found). It's the story components getting ripped up as "a useless trope" or "unimaginative cliche" which really stings.

Step two - You're in control

Just because you paid this person (or didn't) to read your work and provide feedback, doesn't mean you have to follow all of it, or most of it... hell, or any of it. If you truly believe at your core their suggestion is not valid, do not follow it.
At the end of the day you must figure out what feedback, no matter how bad it hurts to consider, is something you feel your target audience might think as well. If your target audience doesn't get it, doesn't like it, wants to read something else... maybe reconsider your target audience, but also consider making some changes.
I've included some pretty realistic militia and post apocalyptic situations for Sway's Demise, but found out through one of my editors, that she wasn't getting it (and she's mostly within my target audience range). This is super valuable, and super sad. I'd spend a considerable amount of time crafting some of these situations to be real, but the only ones who will recognize it or care will be the very few females that are into survivalist and military stuff. I'm guessing that the number of women aged 15-25 interested in sci-fi/action books and also have working knowledge of militia makeup/behavior will be... hmm... one. And that one is me. Wait. I'm 27. Sh*t... Zero.

TL;DR It's your choice what feedback you accept. Always keep that in mind and you'll be a much happier writer.

Step three - Bring it all together

If you have multiple editors, wait to make story altering changes until all edits are in. Yeah... that's all I have to say on that. I think I could go into more detail as to why, but I'm pretty sure you can figure the reason our for yourself. Just like you wouldn't submit a report on life altering diseases without all the research coming in, don't do that with your story. You could make grave errors.

Step four - Resubmit

Not all editors are going to be thrilled at the idea of re-reading your story and going through round two of edits, but it's crucial. Make sure when you're engaging with the editor that a "round two" or even three is covered in your payment (or agreement). It's vital for the editor to see the changes made, and be able to give additional feedback on it. Sometimes 3 rounds are necessary, but if you let them know the suggestions you've declined in round 2, it will probably be the last one you'll need.

I'm currently on step three. Man... one of the bits of feedback is to change the voice of the story. That is a massive undertaking and so I'll do a trial chapter to see if it works out. I didn't get that feedback directly from the other editor, but I asked about it. We'll see if it's something I need to do. But then again, at the end of the day, I'm in control. It's my choice to not change the tense, but I have to truly believe in my gut that changing to third person won't improve the story in a drastic way.

Blerg... night kiddies.

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