Saturday, February 24, 2007


I haven't been reading Jane Yolen's journal the way I used to. In the past, I found her impressive work ethic and output inspiring. Now reading about what she's doing just makes me feel like a layabout. A lazy, disorganized, self-centered, kept woman.

However! I went over there today and saw that she just gave a revision talk at the SCBWI midwinter conference. Revision means editing. If you're lucky, it means working with an editor. I was talking about editors who don't edit just last weekend. Go to Jane's Feb. 7 to 12 journal entry and scroll down to "Here are some of the things I said about revision in my speech:" to get some info on working with editors who do edit. She has some more good info in the Feb. 13 to 14 entry.

I think Jane's definitely right about reading an editor's response letter, putting it down, and picking it up the next day. Or even later. I usually decide which portions of the letter I think are particularly important for the next draft and highlight them, too, for what that's worth.

I have never revised a manuscript with a book editor that didn't result in a better draft than the one before. In fact, by the time I'm through with a book, I am often quite embarrassed about the first draft I submitted.



Blogger Lee said...

Sometimes. I remember reading about Lian Hearn's Across the Nightingale Floor, in which, according to the author, 'hardly a sentence was changed' in the editorial process.

1:31 PM  
Blogger gail said...

I think the number of books that wouldn't benefit from some kind of editing are probably few and far between. Of course, maybe I feel that way because the number of my books that wouldn't benefit from some kind of editing are...nil.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Well, Gail, to be honest, I can't speak from personal experience, since I'm obliged to do all my own rewriting and editing, but I'd love to know how much someone like Alan Hollinghurst, over whom I'm obsessing at the moment - a magnificent stylist, one of the best currently writing - is edited. What I do believe is that all of us should at least aim to self-edit brutally.

11:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home