Teeth and Bones Editing Contest:
How to enter: Comment on the Novel Matters blog anytime between Monday, September 6th, and Friday September 17th. At the bottom of your comment type TABEC (short for Teeth and Bones Editing Contest). Only comments with these letters at the bottom will be eligible to win (we understand that not all our readers are interested in this level of editing, but would still want to be free to comment and discuss editing - that's the reason we require interested people to please use the TABEC letters at the bottom of their comments)You many enter as many times as you like over the two weeks. Each comment counts as an entry (but don't forget to type TABEC at the bottom of each comment).
Winner: One winner will be announced on Friday, September 17th at 5:00 PM pacific time.
The prize: A teeth and bones edit of your first chapter and synopsis by Bonnie Grove. The edit will be on the substantive level (the overall concepts, characters, and themes, etc. of the novel). It will be Bonnie's teeth on the bones of your manuscript.
The winner will work one on one with Bonnie Grove via e-mail. The winner will consent to having the first paragraph of the work posted on Novel Matters in a before and after comparison.
This means the winner will agree to have the first paragraph of your WIP appear on the blog, first as it was originally written, then in its edited form.
As the inaugural NovelMatters poster in our new series about editing and editors, I chose the topic of relationships with editors.
Here’s my disclaimer: I never had an editor I didn’t like. I have had uniformly
pleasant experiences being edited. I realize that’s not the case with many people’s experience. I’ve done lots of things wrong in my life but my relationship with editors holds no regrets for me. Maybe God just blessed me with talented and amenable editors. But maybe some things I did right played a role in the love-fest.
1) First, I am very conscientious about my work. I don’t turn in anything sloppy, or that hasn’t been read by several readers whose opinion I trust (my NovelMatters sisters, for instance.) Back in the day before word processing I paid someone to type my manuscripts so that I always turned in clean copy, and I try to do the equivalent of that –going the extra mile before the editor ever gets the manuscript--with electronic manuscripts.
2) I operate on the assumption that an editor sees a bigger picture than I do of what should be going on with the overall effect of my writing. A recent book of mine had every reference to a breast edited out. Why? It was a conservative publishing company. They knew their audience better than I. I had to trust my editor’s sense on this.
3) I assume that my editor is trustworthy and has my best interests in mind. I assume he or she wants me as an author to look good and not bad. I have said it this way: An editor is the one who tells you there is spinach on your teeth before you sit for the only portrait that may survive you.
4) I see an editor in the role of a master. (Whoa! Where am I going with this? This is the part where Bonnie will start pounding her head on her computer monitor.) In the Bible, people are told to relate to their employers or masters or whomever they work for, serving them as if they were serving the Lord (Ephesians 6:7). My business relationships (and editor-author is a business relationship with some degree of authority exerted over me) must be conducted not only pragmatically but symbolically: The way I relate is a picture of a bigger reality in my life.
All this doesn’t mean that I just “lay down” when something is important. When someone without Mormon background edits my books on Mormonism, I don’t allow them to use what they would see as verbal equivalents which change meaning. I wouldn’t allow editing that expresses a theological position with which I can’t agree. And if an editor removes something that I think is important, I’m comfortable explaining why it should stay. But if the editor decides to take something out – and in the case of a recent book, an entire chapter was taken out, ouch, ouch, ouch—he or she has the final word.
Now, God has a way of testing people who think they’ve figured out things. I may get an editor on my next book whose personality and priorities conflict with mine. Then we’ll see, I guess, how I stand up to an adversarial editor.