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Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

Don’t Make Me

I just turned in edits. For an author, it’s a never ending cycle. Whatever is written can always use another polish. It’s never 100% perfect when it’s turned in. I don’t care how many books you’ve written or what your name is. Studies show, you won’t have a perfect piece of work to turn in. We’re human. We make mistakes.

So I turned in this manuscript and I knew, no matter how clean I thought it to be, it would need edits. It did. Want to know the first thing to pop into my head when I saw all those pretty little comment bubbles?

“Don’t make me!!!!”

Whether it’s fixes for a crit or edits in a contracted story, I both love and hate edits. I hate them because it seems to take forever to get the story just right. And comment bubbles drive me insane. But at the same time, I love edits. 

You’re thinking I’ve totally dropped my marbles. Maybe I have. You wouldn’t be the first one to wonder.  

Still, I love edits. I know that when I’m doing an edit, unless the person asking me to change the story has it out for me, the changes will make the story better. That’s a rather heady feeling. Once I make this change and get the kinks that aren’t supposed to be there, out, this will be something other people will enjoy. Pretty doggoned cool.

And still, the first thing to come to mind when I see the email with the edits in it is ‘don’t make me!’


I guess it’s because the ego part of me wants to think that whatever the story was I’d turned in must be the next best thing to Nora Roberts. Edits are that pleasant, yet unpleasant reality check. We all make mistakes. 

I heard once there was a rather famous author who wrote, wrote, wrote and then turned in the document to the editor. Talk about confidence. “Here’s my first draft, take it or leave it.” Granted, I once thought the whole point of an editor was to clean up the mistakes the author made. Boy was I young. I also thought the editor saw promise and worked from there. Now it seems like there can be lots of promise, but if the presentation is lacking, forget it.

You know, that’s how it should be. Everyone should have that moment of ‘don’t make me fix this’ right before they knuckle down and make the changes. I have friends who subscribe to the notion that an editor will change the author’s voice. I don’t buy it. I’ve had my share of editors and one thing I will heartily admit, they get me. They make me work, sure, but they get me and they get my writing. They’ve never changed my voice during edits. They accentuate what’s there and make it fantastic.

Thanks for making me shine. I might not want to edit at the moment the document hits the email, but I will and I’ll smile while making changes.

How do you feel when you get edits? Or have to fix something you thought was spot on? What’s your routine for edits? Wait a day and then tackle or dive in the moment they show up? 

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.


Cathy M said...

Your approach to edits sounds so logical, Wendi. To get the best story you can out there for fans to read and enjoy.

Stephanie said...

It's good to know you've had such good experiences with your editors! I'm sure they had some reservations working with you too, so I bet they're happy to work with you!