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Author Topic: After Submission
extrinsic
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You've sent you precious prose progeny out into the world. Lo and behold, someone else is actually interested in seeing it published. The publisher has a few areas of concern. What happens next?

I've directly corresponded with contributors for years and editing clients. Most interactions have been contentious. The ones that haven't been were with like-minded professionals who want nothing less than the best practically possible. The contentious interactions--they know what they meant to write. Anyone should understand. The failing is with the reader, not the writer. The obstacles to reading are numerous, mostly from awkward mechanical style, unclear intent and meaning, weak expression, poor organization and missing or vague content, and low appeal. In short, developmental editing is called for, either from a professional editor or someone in the writer's community able to provide targetted guidance.

But that's not my interest. My interest is what do you believe happens after provisional acceptance of a manuscript. I've heard gossip and rumor that nothing should happen. Who does a publisher editor think he or she is to mess with a creative vision? The opposiite and often same editorial correspondence demands nondiscretionary mechanical style adjustments; that is, fixes: misspelled words, missing, misplaced, or superfluous punctuation, consistent application of same, the barest basic fundamentals. So no adjsutments and only fixes for the basic mechanics.

What do you believe a writer's duties are? Where do a publisher's duties begin, end, overlap, or set apart from a writer's? Are these practical beliefs or are they invalid gossip or rumor perpetuated like folk beliefs--superstitions--due to unfamiliarity with publishing?

Talking points: Should a manuscript be totally ready to run, ready for printing setup, makeready, and production preparation? Should a publisher comb out mechanical style glitches only? Should a publisher engage with a writer in a light, medium, or heavy editorial correspondence? Who does and is responsible for consistency, continuity, fact, libel, and infringement checking? Where do a writer's responsibilities actually arise, begin, end, and a publisher's rssponsibilities actually arise, overlap, begin, and end?

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MJNL
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
. My interest is what do you believe happens after provisional acceptance of a manuscript.

So, are you looking for speculations? People can *believe* all sorts of things happen.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Talking points: Should a manuscript be totally ready to run, ready for printing setup, makeready, and production preparation?

I assume you mean when you submit (because it should obviously be ready upon publication). And the answer is yes, to the very best of your abilities.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Should a publisher comb out mechanical style glitches only?

Not if there's a genuine problem with the story that can be easily fixed.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Should a publisher engage with a writer in a light, medium, or heavy editorial correspondence?

A 'should' question like this can only be directly answered from a philosophical standpoint, not a practical one. Practically speaking, it varies from situation to situation, writer to writer, editor to editor, story to story, and publication to publication. Why would an editor heavily edit something he or she thought was perfect as is? Why would an editor only copyedit a story that had an obvious logic flaw?

There are publications, for better or worse, that have a no content editing policy (like Penumbra). Then there are editors that like to put their hands in everything, in order to give their publication a really consistent feel. I would not presume one to be the superior method.

I've experienced quite a continuum when it comes to editorial style. Thus far, no two short fiction editors that I've worked with have been alike.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Who does and is responsible for consistency, continuity, fact, libel, and infringement checking?

Both the editor and the writer share responsibility for continuity. As far as possible libel, copyright infringement, and other legalities--those should be covered in an indemnity clause within a contract, and the responsibility will shift depending on what kind of writing you are doing.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Where do a writer's responsibilities actually arise, begin, end, and a publisher's rssponsibilities actually arise, overlap, begin, and end?

A writer's responsibility is pretty straight forward: write the best story you can write, and make sure it's as clean and close to pub ready as possible. An editor's job is also fairly straight forward: put together the most professional publication possible that caters to your specific audience.

ETA: Anyone harboring tendencies toward "golden word syndrome" better get over them real quick like if they're hoping to be professionally published--especially when it comes to long fiction. While it's fairly common for short fiction to go to press without much if a content edit, it's practically unheard of for a debute novel.

[ December 03, 2013, 04:36 PM: Message edited by: MJNL ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Most of the professional writers I know express deep gratitude for their editor and the work they did to help their books become better.

Most of the professional editors I know rarely ever see a book that is ready for publication from a new writer.

Most of those editors express interest in a book because they can see what needs to be done to get it ready for publication.

And most of the writers I know who sold a second book (and a third and so on) were writers who were willing to work with editors to make the changes needed to make their books publishable.

I'm trying to decide whether to tell y'all about one author I know who did not sell that second book, and why.

Have to think about it for a bit.

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extrinsic
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MJNL,

My interest is in beliefs bordering on superstition based on gossip and rumor or misperceptions and notions, not too suprisingly often disemminated by accomplished prose writers and script writers' publications. Neither, per se, speculation nor secondhand anecdotes nor fact-based evidence from personal experience. Though Ms. Dalton Woodbury's contribution above is exceptional.

As a publication editor I've encountered a lot of push back on nondiscretionary mechanical style issues that should be straightforward. I expect that the writers are used to composing the way they've learned, no matter how much of a hodge-podge cluster flop of numerous styles any given individual's is, and do not believe adjusting for a house's in-house style matters.

Declare up front in submission guidelines that the house style manual is Chicago Manual of Style, or another: MLA, CSE, APA, Fowler's, Hart's, AP, whatever; provide a style sheet listing of any derivations from the above and special focal areas often problematic, that the house dictionary reference is Webster's 11th Collegiate, or another--no effort on the part of the writer to conform accordingly, and heavy resistance to editor adjusting accordingly.

Commas in serial lists, for example: A, B, and C; A, B, or C, and so on with conjunctions. Word compounding according to Webster's or another authorative reference; alpha items: any more (adj), anymore (adv), follow up (v), follow-up (adj), ; that is, (conjunction), ; however, (conjunction), ; therefore, (adv), straightforward (adj & adv), straight forward (noun or pronoun of object or subject phrase or predicate compliment phrase), and so on.

Also, use of wordprocessors' default formatting and autocorrect features like line spacing, spacing after paragraphs, dashes, ellipsis points, double or more word spaces after terminal punctuation, superscript numerals, fractional numerals, numeral or spelled out. Tabbed indentations instead of paragraph style indents. Also commas misplaced outside of terminal quote marks when quote marks used for emphasis, spurious or missing word spaces, spurious line breaks, inconsistent hyphenation, inconsistent spacing around ellipsis points and dashes. Other spurious and often invisible formatting issues that cause complications when importing a mansucript into a publishing program like Adobe InDesign or Corel Draw. Not to mention plain old typos like missing apostrophes for possessives and contractions, comma bracketing for appositive adverbial, adjective, or pronoun phrases, comma placement for nonrestrictive dependent clauses or prefatory dependent restrictive clauses, comma placement for sentence adverbs. Even a short composition needs hours of adjustments from raw and clumsy manuscript format to suitable publication format, which is Chicago's forte, when any or all usually of these above are overlooked by a writer. Then the push back begins.

Now, I'm not advocating for style perfection according to one narrow set, though a measure of consistency makes publication preparation simpler, so that global search and replace covers in one step or straightforward instance by instance an entire manuscript's adjustments for any one glyph or glyph set. But for respecting that a house has a standard they wish to conform to for their readers' sakes. This is an area where writers' presupposed beliefs and notions cause no end of unpleasantness. On the other hand, I'm open to and often advocate with publishers I've worked for that an unconventional style may be intended for a specific rhetorical purpose. An unconventional spelling of a noun, used consistently, a legacy uncompounded or hyphenated term that at present is prescribed as a single word, straightforward as an adjective or adverb, straight-forward before circa 1960, gun powder historically, gunpowder presently, for examples; Associated Press, (AP), style when a journalism-like composition or portion might more artfully express an extended or situational subtle quality, and so on. In other words, a degree of descriptive discretion when, otherwise, a nondiscretionary prescription is ordinarily called for.

Let's say my superstitious belief of note is that writers encountering an editor who knows the ropes wants to push back because the writer believes his or her mechanical style is perfect or believes adjusting straightforward style glitches is the editor's duty. How can it help but be adversarial? I believe it doesn't have to be. But it is.

MJNL, one of your items above is an example of a belief like I mean; that is, "While it's fairly common for short fiction to go to press without much if a content edit." A mostly valid belief about low end houses' developmental editing practices, but not so for houses on the upper end or houses aspiring for that end, especially for unproven [promising] writers. Developmental editing itself is another whole other area of belief contentions.

[ December 03, 2013, 11:18 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MJNL
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I was speaking of SFWA qualifying short fiction venues with that last point. I'd hardly call those low-end. My first pro sale was a novelette to IGMS, and I think we edited like five sentences worth of content (mostly clarity issues) and everything else was typo/missing word/ house style type stuff. So no, that's not a vague belief, it is anecdotal. Though, in contrast, I am expecting heavier edits from Edmund this current time around.
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extrinsic
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I've yet to sample any narrative by a debut writer published by SFWA qualified houses that couldn't have benefited from another discerning editorial round or two. On the other hand, or two or more other hands; it's a start for the writer and further nurturing may be fostered as a house develops a writer's career, the house has deadline time pressures, the house has quality of available submission pressures, and maybe the house's reading audience expects some degree of tarnished polish every now and then.

Actually, in folkloristics, one of the definitions for a legend is the narrative be notably unpolished, raw, as if the orator is emotionally affected by the events, personas, and settings recounted. Let me tell you-all about the Pactolus Highway light. . . Or the hitchhiker, or the Bloody Hook, or Bloody Mary, or Chicken-fried Rat. Unpolished prose has verisimilitude appeals all its own.

[ December 03, 2013, 08:21 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MJNL
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:


MJNL, one of your items above is an example of a belief like I mean; that is, "While it's fairly common for short fiction to go to press without much if a content edit." A mostly valid belief about low end houses' developmental editing practices, but not so for houses on the upper end or houses aspiring for that end, especially for unproven writers. Developmental editing itself is another whole other area of belief contentions.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
I've yet to sample any narrative by a debut writer published by SFWA qualified houses that couldn't have benefited from another discerning editorial round or two. On the other hand, or two or more; it's a start for the writer, the house has time pressures, the house has quality of available submission pressures, and maybe the house's reading audience expects some degree of tarnished polish.
.

So, just to clarify, are you saying you consider SFWA qualifying markets to in fact be low-end? If so, what would you consider to be high-end short fiction venues in our genres?

If that's not what you're saying, can you clarify your point about unproven writers expecting more developmental editing? That seems to be your assertion in the first post I quoted, but then you seem to contradict yourself the second.

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extrinsic
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I don't blanket consider SFWA qualified houses as subpar. I believe, know actually, that they span a gamut of quality generally above average. They are what their staff and contributors make them. On the other hand, in general, though the caliber of writing is generally above average, yet a general degree of lower expression sophistication expectations is common, lower than, say, mainstream stalwart periodicals, in order to appeal meaningfully to targeted audiences.

When a house suggests prospective contributors sample its publication, the intentions are not just about subject matter evaluation, nor revenue generation, but artistic expression, style, creative slant, degree of sophistication, and target audience appeals as well.

Unproven writers do not, in my experience, expect much, if any, developmental editing discussion. They do, on the other hand, often expect minor style glitch adjustments.

But no absolutes, more a matter of a spectrum between extremes, and any given point or segments along the axis. And, maybe, one of my outcomes from a rigorous study of writing is not only are there no absolutes, save one, that there are no absolutes, seemingly irreconcillable contradictions, known as double binds in social sciences, are more common in writing expression principles, methods, and intents than straightforward ones like basic Standard Written English mechanical style principles.

And I was still revising my previous post when you quoted it, adding clarification to how a house progresses with a promising writer, I hope.

[ December 03, 2013, 11:01 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MAP
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A major part of why I still prefer to go the traditional route is to have my work professionally edited. I want my stories to be the best they can be, and I realize that there is only so much that I can do by myself even if I do have some amazing beta readers.

I'm open to editing at all levels as long as I feel the editor and I have a similar vision for the story.

I don't submit anything until I feel it is as close to publishable quality as I can make it.

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extrinsic
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MAP,

I think I've accomplished my inferior, as opposed to ulterior, intentions. My ulterior intention is surveying for writers' subjective beliefs about publishing culture. Your post is largely an expression of your objective beliefs, albeit subjective individually. Do you have beliefs you hold or have held about publishing culture that are dubious, perhaps incredible, that you may have held but no longer do?

One common one, for example, is that a writer merely string words together in some semblance of a sequence and, eventually, if not sooner, phenomenal publication success will ensue. Mass culture film and prose perpuate that gossip and rumor. I won't call it a myth; a myth involves, prescriptively, a sacred qualification. Another, and this one is parallel to the former and subtle if not sublime, is many accomplished writers overlook or forget their struggles and report how little difficulty they encountered on their Poet's Journeys. Generalizations, of course, though they are more common beliefs than their opposites.

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MAP
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I think if you've read a lot of my posts on this subject that you will see I've always been pro-traditional route.

I see a lot of value in what the publishing industry offers, and that has only increased as I've read more self-published novels. While I've enjoyed some of them, most of them come off as lacking, and I think all of them could benefit from some professional editing. Seeing a contrast between traditionally published novels and self-published novels, I can get an idea of what an editor brings to the story, and I think they bring in a lot of value.

I don't want to seem negative about self-publishing. It is a viable route to take and many have found the success there. I certainly think it is better to self-publish than have a story that you believe in trunked. If I don't get any agents or editors interested in my work, I very well may go that route, but I am going to try the traditional route first.

I've never had any negative beliefs about the publishing culture. I know that publishing is a business and that they are out to make money, and you have to read and understand your contracts to make sure that they aren't trying to take advantage of you as a writer. I think that is true in all businesses. You can't just blindly sign whatever anyone puts in front of you and hope that they have your best interests at heart. That is just incredibly naive.

But I feel that for the most part traditional publishers earn their portions of the book sales. They put a lot of time, money, and talent into the book as well, and I for one, appreciate the quality that adds to the finished project. Ultimately, I just want my story to be the best it can be, and I don't think I can do that alone.

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extrinsic
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Though still in the objective arena, MAP, your response raises several areas where publishing culture beilefs may be subjective beliefs of the folk belief kind, dubious or valid: that traditional publishing results in superior quality writing and superb production values, that self-publishing results in quality and production value expectation shortcomings, that self-publishing to varying degrees of desire satisfies publication ambitions, that publishing contracts have a seige and self-serving mentality, that publishers engage in predatory practices, that traditional publishers profit from publishing; they do though mostly from backlist revenue performers and new release blockbusters, that every traditional publishing project receives a deserving degree of development time, effort, and expense.

One other belief you don't mention is that all traditional book publishers require agented submissions for all unsolicited submissions or, contrarily, the belief that traditional book publishers accept unsolicited submissions.

Another area your last post raises indirectly is how self-publishing promotion and publicity are practiced. Enormous pond, small fish mostly. So then how may self-publishers put on a successful marketing campaign? In the era of traditional publishing's dominance, pre and post industrial bookmaking technology, marketing by word of mouth publication was through sincere, insightful, mutually reciprocal professional networking and promotion and publicity of fellow writers through critical commentary publishing. I'm not talking about Amazon vanity reviewers' astroturfing, laying artificial sod. I believe for a self-publisher to succeed in the present-day marketplace's enormous product volume that quality production, of course, and strategic marketing tactics are essential.

Copying and reinventing for the digital age the successes of past marketing tactics are those best practice strategies. Critical analysis reviews of method, intent, and meaning interpretation, nothing superficially negatively critical or disapproving, of like-minded writers' works are those strategies. But critical analysis reviewing is a lost art with few talented and appealing creative writer practitioners anymore.

But creative writers anymore want only to specialize in prose products, editors, agents, and publishers want to specialize in their respective trades, and critics want to specialize in criticism products, oftentimes of the negative varieties. Maybe oil, mustard, and vinegar, don't mix. I believe they emulsify magically. Maybe that might be a kernel of a digital age innovative writing website organization's stepping-stone bootstrapping to success.

[ December 04, 2013, 02:26 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Robert Nowall
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Never gotten as far as having to deal with an editor abut revisions, but I have a couple of experiences that are similar.

One time I had to write up a legal document describing what happened. I passed this among relatives, who thought I should tone down some of what I was saying (and leave out some things). It seemed to go on endlessly, and, as a writer, I found myself unhappy with the experience.

The other was during my internet fanfic days...I wrote a story that, for plot complications, had to have relatively precise grammar as I told the story. I hooked up with one guy (a fellow fanfic writer) and we tossed the story back and forth, me writing, him suggesting corrections, me incorporating them or coming up with new ideas based on his. This was an enjoyable experience---I found myself a better writer on the other side of it than I had been going in.

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History
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Extrinsic, I believe you've said you have acted (and offered to provide your service) as a 'developmental' editor, and have been editor for published works.

What has been your experience as an editor in suggesting revisions to an author prior to publication of their work?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Seems to me that extrinsic isn't interested (in this topic, anyway) in actual experience per se.

My impression here is that the topic is on what unpublished writers, in general (not even in SF/F), believe happens to a manuscript once it's been accepted.

So the question is, what does an unpublished writer anticipate will happen?

Not what actually does happen.

Am I correct, extrinsic?

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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In case I am correct, I offer some of what I think (from my experience [Wink] ) unpublished writers expect when a story is accepted.

I've heard or read where many aspiring authors seem to think that the editor will fix any problems in the story.

From this I infer that they have bought into the idea that fixing stories is all that editors do. And I have attempted to disabuse them of that idea, because I know that editors do much more, in some ways, and much less, in other ways, than that.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
Extrinsic, I believe you've said you have acted (and offered to provide your service) as a 'developmental' editor, and have been editor for published works.

What has been your experience as an editor in suggesting revisions to an author prior to publication of their work?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Push back for nine out of ten projects. Line items, sentence level, word level, are most contentious. Big picture areas least contentious but most baffling for the writers.

One project with no push back--I noted that a singular term compassed the whole in regard to an influential dramatic complication, explaining dramatic complication's functions and implication and inference's roles. The writer in that case had an ah-hah epiphany. Not that the term made its way into the manuscript, it was an erudite term and too sophisticated for the narrative voice, but that my commentary was the tipping point for the writer fully understanding dramatic unity and intensity. The next revision was the final one. The narrative went from underrealized direction and unity to a tight and intense cohesion. I did a little more copyediting on a final draft for a few mechanical style glitches after that, word compounding issues mostly, a few trifling punctuation issues. Then the novel was accepted for publication. The novel went through one more light development pass at the publisher before production. The writer in that case was already far along the way of the Poet's Journey. A slight guidance nudge was all I did meaningfully. Everything else was mechanical.

Word choice, diction, has been a major fraction of push back incitements, syntax next, paragraph level causation shortcomings next, overall structure issues next--content and organization shortcomings, expression next. When I've commented about appeal shortcomings, push back has been strongest. To the last, resistant writers have brought out those stale and pointless justifications: Who do you think you are? You think you're better than me. You don't know what you're talking about. Forget you.

Did and done, forgotten. Pushing back against push back is pointless.

Well, duh-huh, one opinion does not constitute an absolute, if there are any. I couldn't care less if a writer disagrees or agrees with any guidance, except that push back stalls or poisons interaction. Push back is futile, pointless, unnecessary, and contentious.

Except on rare occasions, when misperceptions cause misunderstandings from overlooked intents and meanings. In one case, the writer had unwittingly written a Magical Realism narrative. The writer had had no such intention and priorly despised Magical Realism. I thought an underlying reason for the push back was because the writer was unsettled by not understanding Magical Realism's conventions. In the mildly contentious process, the writer came away at last breaking through the fog.

One writer threw a fit over diction guidance. Many words were clumsy expressions. On the one hand, awkward diction might be appealing if meaningfully accessible. On the other hand, awkward diction might signal forced expression. The concern I had was the diction, though forced, was unstable, meaning that the diction's meaning was too uncertain to express its intended purposes, hence, inaccessible. An example (conflated from the project): Sixteenth century mendicants embrace Giorgio Vasari's encompassing art criticism origins. (Emphasis added for diction identification.) Whoa. That was one of many reading speed-bump hiccups. Missing hyphen. Main idea obscurred by clumsy wordiness. Not factual. Overt writer voice intrusion inappropriately expressing a strongly held, if counterfactual, strongly questionable subjective position.

An example of awkward though artful and appealing diction prompted by Seymour Chatman (estranging metaphor): Beautiful shame, idiot tears--he wished no one had seen him crawl under the road through the dusty pipe. The boys dared him to. Girls waiting at the bus stop did see. They were impressed. They were disgusted.

[ December 04, 2013, 03:26 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
Seems to me that extrinsic isn't interested (in this topic, anyway) in actual experience per se.

My impression here is that the topic is on what unpublished writers, in general (not even in SF/F), believe happens to a manuscript once it's been accepted.

So the question is, what does an unpublished writer anticipate will happen?

Not what actually does happen.

Am I correct, extrinsic?

Yes, ma'am. I mean precisely that, what struggling writers' perhaps dubious or valid beliefs are part of and influence publishing culture.
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History
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
So the question is, what does an unpublished writer anticipate will happen?
Not what actually does happen.

I'll argue that the latter is the only issue of consequence, Kathleen.

In regard to the former, for short works and novels, one can "anticipate" (imagine) many scenarios:
1) the editor accepts and publishes the manuscript as is--which has been my experience with my two published works.
2) the editor may advise but not insist on revision of the manuscript prior to publication.
3) the editor conditionally accepts a manuscript contingent upon the performing of requested revisions that the author may (or may not) be permitted to debate--which I'm told is common.
4) the publisher or agent provides an editor to work with the author-novelist.

The natural follow-up key question (which perhaps extrinsic is intimating) is: "How far would you be willing to change your manuscript to accomodate an editor/publisher?"

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
I've heard or read where many aspiring authors seem to think that the editor will fix any problems in the story.

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Yes, ma'am. I mean precisely that, what struggling writers' perhaps dubious or valid beliefs are part of and influence publishing culture.

I'm not sure you and Kathleen are truly in agreement on what you are asking here.

However, I'll submit the question I suggested in bold at the end of my prior post does seem to anticipate the lesson you wish to convey:
quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Push back for nine out of ten projects. Line items, sentence level, word level, are most contentious. Big picture areas least contentious but most baffling for the writers.

One project with no push back...the novel was accepted for publication.

...resistant (push back) writers have brought out...stale and pointless justifications: Who do you think you are? You think you're better than me. You don't know what you're talking about. Forget you.

Did and done, forgotten. Pushing back against push back is pointless....push back stalls or poisons interaction. Push back is futile, pointless, unnecessary, and contentious.

As with most things in life, humility is best. As is respect.
This is true for both editor and author.
We learn best by listening to each other.

This has been the standard for sharing and critiquing each others' stories here at the Hatrack River Forum, at least for me. I have always been open to the critiques I've received and have been very grateful for them. Some suggestions I found extremely helpful and others I respected the opinion but chose not to incorporate them based on my conception of the story and what I wished to convey. Would you consider this "push back", extrinsic?

True, perhaps my setting aside some of these suggestions has impaired a story's potential for publication, yet conversely my WOTF Finalist story was one which I chose to keep as I envisioned it despite professional advice to the contrary.
Then again, the story did not win. [Wink]

Anyway, I see an editor who accepts a manuscript and suggests a story revision is acting as a colleague in improving the story for publication for his/her journal's audience--offering me a suit jacket before dining in the Club if I arrived without one.

Personally, I would readily incorporate minor revisions in a story, particulary (and paradoxically to your reported experience, extrinsic) in regard to superficial "line items, sentence level, word level" edits. Yet, I would likely be more resistant to "big picture areas" like theme and characterization which are far more core heart issues for me in conceiving and writing a story.

Yet...I am always willing to listen. [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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MJNL
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I agree with Dr. Bob. What's the point of discussing publishing myths without discussing publishing truths? Other than to engage in some sort of hubris-driven, *well, aren't they silly,* sort of amateur-bashing--which I'm sure no one here wants to participate in.

There is plenty of misinformation being disseminated through writing forums as-is. I'm not sure how drawing attention to assumptions--without countering them with real world experiences--is helpful.

ETA: Unless, of course, Extrinsic's actual intent is to ask what Dr. Bob's question sated quite clearly: how far is one personally willing to go in a collaborative effort with an editor?

[ December 04, 2013, 02:47 PM: Message edited by: MJNL ]

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
The natural follow-up key question (which perhaps extrinsic is intimating) is: "How far would you be willing to change your manuscript to accomodate an editor/publisher?"

That is far from what I intimate. Not "one can anticipate {imagine) many scenarios". My interest is which, what, why, and how struggling writers' folk gossip and rumor transmissions enhance or diminish their Poet's Journeys. The phrase "accommodate an editor/publisher" holds a kernel of a rumor item; that is, that an editorial correspondence process is a less than ideal productive interaction. Many writers have claimed publicly that "accommodating" an editor ruined their narratives or wasted their time. Some of those claims may be valid; some dubious.

Seven categories social beings interact:
  • Codetermination: Mutual efforts for mutual outcomes
  • Cooperation: Reciprocal efforts for reciprocal outcomes
  • Coordination: Disproportionate efforts for disproportionate outcomes
  • Contention: Disagreement open or withheld
  • Clash: Expressed hostility
  • Confrontation: Hostility engaged
  • Conflagration: All out, no holds barred hostility

For editorial correspondence, many struggling writers believe somewhere about the middle of the list's spectrum is a safe standpoint, though often nonconsciously, because of perceptions, beliefs, that publishing culture is predatory, whether or not that's a valid or dubious point. Most of everyday human existence takes place third from the top. The ideal is at the top of the list, for all parties concerned.

By the way, folkloristics is a social science. Ethnography surveys are a core folkloristics research process.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
Some suggestions I found extremely helpful and others I respected the opinion but chose not to incorporate them based on my conception of the story and what I wished to convey. Would you consider this "push back", extrinsic?

Push back in my sense of the term is disagreeable, pointless justifications and arguments. Mom and them used to call this back talk, often sassy. But that involved discipline issues. In an editorial correspondence, guidance is on point, not discipline. Pushing back against an opinion, guidance suggestions, dubious or valid, is arguing with an orifice outlet.

This raises another publishing culture folk belief, actually, a global society folk bellef; that firm assertions are unquestionable and unchallengable. The very foundation of the Humanities' Postmodernism is questioning and challenging presupposed notions of propriety. Persuasive argumentation, on the other hand, drills into first principles. Why, for example, did Mom and them dislike back talk? Because doing so questioned and challenged their authority? Perhaps. Perhaps because another, perhaps sublime life lesson was the point of the execrise.

Wash the dishes. It's oldest sibling's turn. I said wash the dishes. I did them yesterday. It's not my turn. Wash the dishes or go to bed. If I have to tell you again, you'll wash the dishes for a month.

Lo and behold, eldest sibling was on another, more important, more tedious, and more unpleasant chore, with no back talk. I had to do that one next and for awhile. I learned my lesson. Back talk has consequences, for one. That unpleasantness is contagious, that unpleasantness causes heartache and hardship. If I'd just washed the dishes, Mom and them would have been pleased and more appreciative in future. I fumed for awhile, making the chore even more unpleasant, grueling, and time consuming than it had to be.

But that's discipline-issue push back. For editorial guidance, push back is meaningless. That push back is an unneccesary writer reaction is one of my strongly held folk beliefs, as writer, editor, publisher, agent, or critic. On the other hand, the need for push back is a folk belief as well.

[ December 04, 2013, 04:57 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MJNL
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I'm still failing to see what you hope to get out of this. Is it simply a research project into our assumptions and how they weigh on our actions?

From this discussion, I'd say our limited experiences are as, if not more, important. You've interacted with ten unpublished authors on a freelance basis (at least, that's what I gather from your point about a manuscript being accepted for publication after you worked on it. If you were employed by a publisher, you would be working on a manuscript post-acceptance. Rewrite requests are another matter. But, of course, correct me if I'm wrong). Those authors have clearly skewed your perceptions of how writers view the editorial relationship, leading to your somewhat dismissive comments toward those of us who have talked about collaborative efforts and our appreciation of what a skilled editor can bring to the table.

You seem to assume you know what the assumptions will be.

I'm not saying this to be contensious, just to point out that there might be more to the topic. Inexperience isn't the only thing that leads to assuming.

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by MJNL:
I agree with Dr. Bob. What's the point of discussing publishing myths without discussing publishing truths? Other than to engage in some sort of hubris-driven, *well, aren't they silly,* sort of amiture-bashing--which I'm sure no one here wants to participate in.

There is plenty of misinformation being disseminated through writing forums as-is. I'm not sure how drawing attention to assumptions--without countering them with real world experiences--is helpful.

ETA: Unless, of course, Extrinsic's actual intent is to ask what Dr. Bob's question sated quite clearly: how far is one personally willing to go in a collaborative effort with an editor?

Well, that is the question and the reverse need be asked as well.
But since extrinsic is asking for what we imagine, here is mine:

The editor is the gatekeeper to the audience for his/her publication. He/she has a responsibility to provide them the best quality stories for their readers time and/or dollar.

The author is the creator of tales, the dreamer of visions, the searcher for truth as he/she experiences it. Dreamstuff can be ephemeral and very personal despite the knowledge that we all dream.

An editor standing at the gate is valuable in helping the author convey his/her vision to an audience and in selecting those visions an audience may most enjoy and appreciate.

Yet there is a pseudo-Heisenberg observor-expectancy effect whereby the editor (as any reader) is inherently and inescapbaly subjective in his/her reading of a story. The publication is similarly the inherent creation of the editor's subjective conception of stories his/her audience will like.

The humble editor will strive for objectivity, discovering a story of quality for his/her readership and, based on his unique skillsets as editor, assist the author in polishing his/her vision until it is translucent and clear for all to see.

The author who insists on maintaining the opacities in his/her story (the blemishes and rough spots that confuse or misconvey his/her vision) is foolish (and unprofessional).

The editor who insists on altering the author's work to suit their personal vision is unscrupulous (and unprofessional).

There is an essential objectivity toward a manuscript that both an author and editor need possess, like doctors with a patient, to achieve a good outcome. This is a challenge for writing and publishing are strongly subjective efforts of creation, like producing children.

In the end, it is the author's story. He/she can shop it to another editor with a vision closer to his/her own knowing he/she risks it never being published. Some may have a Salinger streak and not care. Others will see the folly of their pride when no other editor shows interest.

An editor may similarly reject a story that the author declines to revise to the editor's similarly narrow scope of vision. The editor may not (will likely not) care, for there are so many more stories than openings for publication. Yet the possibility remains that he/she may see a great story slip away to a competitor's publication.

I do not see the editor as equal to the author in regard to the author's work. The editor is advisor and helper, and at times a teacher; providing a fresh perspective from the outside while the author may be tangled within.

I do not see the author as equal to the editor in regard to knowing what the editor's particular audience deires. However, the author may reveal new visions and new shifts that may open the editor's publication to a broader audience and spark greater excitement among the current.

While my bias is for the artist rather than the gallery owner, the author is foolish to ignore the gatekeeper's help. I find this most evident when the author has become successful and either ignores the advice of the editor or the editor is fearful to advise him/her (i.e. the balance of power has shifted to the author). There are so many overwrought and wordy tomes written by famous authors through which I've struggled as a reader (e.g. Robert Jordan, Terry Godkind, Stephen Donaldson, etc.) for whom I wished an editor had been more ascendant

Again, as I've said, I believe a mutually humble and respectful collaboration beyween author and editor is best.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
This raises another publishing culture folk belief, actually, a global society folk bellef; that firm assertions are unquestionable and unchallengable.
...On the other hand, the need for push back is a folk belief as well.

Another paradox? [Smile]
Well, in my case, you are corresponding with someone who accepts the existence of G-d as "unquestionable and unchallengable", even as I recognize others do not. All my belief and acknowledgment of universal and eternal ethics springs from this--and, upon reflection, ethics and the human struggle are central themes in most of my stories.

Thus, for example, an editor who suggested line edits, word choice, etc. to improve my story and its themes would be...ahem...a G-d-send.

Contrarily, an editor who insisted "lose the ethical theme of the story" would be inappropriately "pushy". [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

P.S. Is MJNL correct in intimating you are venting some frustration regarding "push back" from "nine of (your) ten projects"? Instead I would say congratulations are in order for the one that worked with you and had his/her novel published. There's a lesson in the value of a good author-editor relationship.

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extrinsic
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My intents overall are to get a stronger sense of publishing culture beliefs, maybe for enhancing my diplomacy skills, improving my editing correspondence, but especially for sampling a flavor of one culture so that I may adapt those beliefs to others for my writing.

What I have seen here thus far, with an exception or two, is the generic beliefs common across much of the culture. I've contributed to that trend by expressing similar common beliefs for examples, however. The idiosyncratic beliefs most interest me for my writing purposes.

For example, witch riding is a somewhat rare folk belief anymore. A person lying down in the dark feels an unexplainable, heavy pressure on the torso. An invisible, visible, or ghostly witch rides on the person's chest. Cardio-pulmonary medical causes may credibly explain the ride. They may not. Persons who experience witch riding report profound, lasting sensations unexplainable at the moment. I've not experienced anything resembling witch riding in person. But Mom reported it happening to her.

That's the delicious kind of folk beliefs I'm prospecting for. On publishing culture, though, so the discussion stays about writing, you know.

A personal idiosyncratic folk item of mine is a belief in prescient dreams. Science may one day explain them as temporal anachronies, or may not explain them. I have recurring prescient nightmares. A closer and skeptical interpretation may determine they are little more than subconscious reactions advising me of solutions for prior and ongoing worries. However, upon reflection, some of them have no discernible prior bases. They credibly seem to me as though prescient, though perhaps they are incredible. I'm astonished and frightened by those possibilities. This private example is not asserted for the truth of the matter, but by way of example.

My nine of ten comment is a ratio, an idiomatic expression, not a literal number. I've worked freelance, paid intern, and employed on hundreds of thousands of editing projects in some capacity or other for numerous clients and publications.

"Another paradox?" What I know as a cognitive dissonance or double bind, rather, though across more than one believer. A paradox for me is more in terms of the rhetorical figure: self-contradiction on the surface as one identity, expressing an underlying truth, so to speak, implied as the other identity. Oxymoron is a related figure, a compressed or situational paradox, as is irony and other figures.

[ December 04, 2013, 05:12 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MJNL
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

My nine of ten comment is a ratio, an idiomatic expression, not a literal number. I've worked freelance, paid intern, and employed on hundreds thousands of editing projects in some capacity or other for numerous clients and publications.

.

I have to assume 'hundreds thousands' is also idiomatic. Seeing as how not even John W. Campbell, one of the most active and influential editors ever in the field, could claim such a number.
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extrinsic
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I've edited in some fashion three thousand pages during the past week, sixty-eight individual jobs. I've been at this full time for fifteen years and part time for four decades. Some week's or year's work are less pages or jobs, some more. Mathematically, I factor out to low six figures the actual number of individual jobs.
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MJNL
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
I've edited in some fashion three thousand pages during the past week, sixty-eight individual jobs. I've been at this full time for fifteen years and part time for four decades. Some week's or year's work are less pages or jobs, some more. Mathematically, I factor out to low six figures the actual number of individual jobs.

Ok, I am really not trying to get into this, but you're telling me you can accurately edit 75 pages an hour (40hr work week divided by 3000 pages)? You didn't say what kind of editing, but a quick google of 'pages per hour editing' brings up a slew of professional editors of different types who claim to be able to do around 4-10 pages of 'light' editing an hour. Unless you are editing headers and footers and counting those as pages edited, I really don't see how you can do 75 where your peers can only do 10.

I realize this is way off topic and somewhat personal, so suffice it to say I have no idea what kind of editing you do or who you do it for. And I guess, in the end, it's really none of my business.

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History
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I do enjoy reading your posts, extrinsic, though I admittedly find them incomprehensible at time.
Let's see if I can find a response to some of your statements

1. Publishing culture beliefs: Personally, I am more interested in publishing culture realities.

For me the reality is write as best I can, ask for critiques from authors (pro-published and unpublished with great potential) who I admire, and submit to publications. Review stories after many months to permit time and distance for fresh perspective, then revise and submit again.

While it may be great to have professional editorial feedback, I'm cheap. [Wink] Some editors I've seen would charge more than the story would receive if sold for publication! >chucle< Perhaps if I ever become frustrated with not coming to accord with "the publishing culture", I may consider it. But, as yet, I'm patient. There is always the next story.

2. "Hundreds-Thousands of editing projects": Mazel tov. Then experience you've got. How do you perceive authors then? Positively or negatively? Has your exprience with us been like herding cats? [Smile] (I love that expression).

I've a penpal pro-author who, as Ms Woodbury has so aptly noted, has nothing but praise for his editors, and I've read many an acknowledgement page where similar praise for an author's editor is rendered. I'd love to have a novel accepted and then work with a professional editor. I'm just uncertain I can justify hiring an editor first without a publisher's interest. If you wish to speak on this subject, I think this would be an interesting topic for another thread.

3. Folklore: Thank you for sharing. The folkloric "witch riding" has been described as a conscious awareness of an inability to move (mucle atonia) just before falling asleep or waking and has been attributed to a disruption in REM sleep. Associated night terrors are common. Wonderful stuff for a story. Good luck with it.

However, its applicability to "publishing culture" is unclear to me. It doesn't sound...comforting.

4. Paradox: If not, then opposing folk beliefs perhaps? A belief in "unassailable firm assertions" vs. a belief in the need to "push back"? Unless the editor and author can dismiss such beliefs as false and unproductive, neither will achieve what should be a mutual goal.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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Most of my editing work is pure mechanical style adjustment suggestions. I do it all digitally, using a full spectrum of advanced apps, programs, and automated scripts, in shorthand methods my regular clients expect. My regular clients are also expert writers, with few adustments indicated usually. Heavier editing jobs consume exponentially more time than straightforward mechanics jobs. I spent a year and a half each on two book-length editing projects. Other publishing projects have consumed far less time.

I work when I have work. Some days are sixteen hours, some weeks are seven days, some holidays I work. I don't take time off. If I do, work backs up. I can do my work from almost anywhere at anytime. I have a mi-fi Internet connection, a cell phone, several laptops, and portable backup power sources to power them for days.

I'm a writer too. Editing is my all-day job. I perceive writers as potential clients, as fellow and companionable sojourners on the Poet's Journey, as mutual guides, often as adversarially contentious at times, at other times as passionate supporters and lauding approvers, and at other times as largely indifferent and preoccupied. That's life. Tel est la vie d'escritur, Such is the life of writing.

The Witch Riding example was offered as an example of a fascinating folk belief item, not per se as directly applicable to publishing culture. About the only comparable folk belief items I have for publishing are historical ones that have faded from contemporary culture awareness.

Did you know, for example, that the term "out of sorts" meant a temper tantrum a typesetter threw when a cold lead type supply ran short during galley composition? Individual lead type matrices were known as sorts from the tedious sorting work apprentices did when a galley needed to be cast back into its type cases. "Why is he upset?" "He's out of sorts." How that item, an esoteric folk saying, became part of everyday language once upon a time is itself a fascinating folklore study. Maybe overheard in a printing shop by a writer arranging for publication, who turned it through use in writing or conversation into the metaphor then idiom it became.

Something on the more mystical side from historical publishing culture? The muse? Welsh bards believed if they used the four-letter word for moving air that the muse would withdraw her creative influences permamently. The word used as rhyming with bind, meaning how a coil stores energy, though, was acceptable.

[ December 05, 2013, 12:06 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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extrinsic
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A few esoteric folk sayings in common contemporary publication culture use: slush and slush pile, "As you know, Bob," show don't tell, "Tang in a Jar," "Abbess Phone Home," "Dischism." Quote-marked examples are from the Turkey City Lexicon, hosted by SFWA. Parts of the Lexicon preamble about how writing workshops operate describe a folk group practice (ritual).

[ December 07, 2013, 01:36 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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If you have an idea of what an aspiring writer expects will happen when a manuscript is accepted, then you know better how to work with said writer on that manuscript.

If the writer considers every word carved in marble, the editorial process can be particularly uncomfortable in both directions.

If the writer expects the editor to "fix everything," then the editor becomes more of a ghost writer than an editor (and I know of at least one best-seller that the editor had more to do with than the "writer").

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