Friday, November 4, 2011
On Being Edited
I am now happy to say that I am a published author! I got to see some of my words in print. It’s only a little community newspaper that comes with our local rag every Wednesday, and I’m afraid there’s been no talk of monetary compensation as it’s a “readers’ column”. But I got to see a piece I wrote printed on dead trees! It also brought home to me quite forcefully that I need to get some decent headshots taken. Note to self: contact lovely photographer who did such a magnificent job on son’s Bar Mitzvah pictures. But I digress.
So why am I whining about being edited? Because I had the unpleasant surprise of seeing some of those words I had so lovingly crafted … altered. Changed to formulations I consider pedestrian or even ungrammatical, or cut altogether. I was well within the word-count limit I was provided, so length is unlikely to have been a factor. Somebody just went to town on my words, because they could. How dare they!
I really shouldn’t be surprised. The CBC did that once while I was blogging for them, I complained vociferously and after that they didn’t alter a single comma. But my sig tag in recent weeks has been a quote from H.G. Wells: “No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.” I have edited and cut with little mercy in other people’s copy. So why am I so upset about taking my medicine? I think I would have been completely fine with it if I thought the column actually improved from the editing. As is probably already abundantly clear, I don’t think so. But don’t take my word for it, as they say; judge for yourself.
Compare the published article with the original. It’s not a bad article as it stands, really it’s not. Many people have read it and expressed kind words to me. I am just exceedingly frustrated because I think my original was better. Maybe I’m being arrogant and elitist, but I really do. I’m trying to figure out how to express my feelings to the editor without alienating him to the point of never writing for this particular group again.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!