Editing Insecurities + A Poem

I just completed another round of Desert Palm Press editing. I had a good time editing this manuscript, the story was pretty solid, the characters, exciting, and the themes, consistent. Plus it was a fantasy realm, right up my alley. As with every story, some things needed tweaking, but overall it was a very good book. I was happy to send my markups off to the author and publisher.

And yet, I worried, too.

I’m always worried about what the author will say once I send their manuscript back. Will they like my suggestions? Hate I axed out a section? Dismiss all my hard work entirely under the guise of author’s creativity? (Yes, the author always has the last say, but sometimes that comma should just stay where it is, people!) I use Word’s Track Changes feature, so the manuscript itself tends to get completely colorful – red for deletions, blue for insertions, and green for comments and questions.

It’s a silly insecurity, really, because I’ve had positive reviews from all of my clients thus far. And I like doing the work. But a small part of me always thinks what if they hate it this time? I think it’s because so much of editing is subjective, you can give four editors the same manuscript and you’ll get four different ideas in return.

I’ll stop fretting eventually. Until then, here’s a poem:

**

The Red (and Blue and Green) Pen

I use colors to make the ripping
of your story a little more bearable,
The deletions of sections a little less blue, and
reduce the blood-shed tears over my insertion ideas.
(Because I know you could’ve thought of what I suggested,
If you had more time.)

Those lime-green comments are supposed to catch your eye,
make you rethink that one line,
paragraph,
whole entire chapter or even
that ending.

I wear many hats.
I am a character analyzer,
a plotline fixer,
a finder of holes,
of stray commas,
of the incorrect usage of there, their, and they’re.

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,
slicing up your work
throwing out your baby.

But the way the character is acting is out
of tune with the way you wrote her.
So don’t be sad when I ax
that section out.

It’s for the best.
Really.

My suggestions will make your manuscript better,
the descriptions tighter,
characters more powerful,
and plotlines solid.

You’re the reason I have a job at all.

After all, you wrote the story,
racked up the agonizing hours staring at a computer,
lost time wandering about your world,
and did a damn good job, too.

Trust my multicolored pen,
and we’ll make your work shine.

**

Have a lovely weekend everyone!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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