The Wars of the Edits

Editing a book is part teamwork and part battle, in my view.

It's always a nervous time, waiting for the suggested edits to come back from the publishers. You can't help but fear how many there will be and how much work they'll involve.

I'm pleased to report I'm on the final stage of the edits for the new tvdetective book, The Dark Horizon, which should be out in June. And happily, there aren't too many to do.

Quick interlude for a picture - it's not the most exciting, but please indulge me in my pride. Here's the title page on my laptop -



Now, as I was saying, edits - the problems come when author and editor disagree, and sometimes it can get a little feisty.

I'm not going to knock editors, as some authors do. The ones I've worked with are dedicated to their job, good at it, and a very important part of the publishing process.

They're also usually (annoyingly) right in their suggestions.

But the part I don't like is when they try to change the way you write. Sometimes, I ignore the rules of syntax to create a deliberate effect, particularly with characters' dialogue, a la Yoda (Jedi Master he is, know that you do.)

And along comes the editor to change it to "proper English", which inevitably prompts a "discussion" (which can often be a euphemism for a row.)

The other bugbear is action scenes. When there's. Action. Going on. Sometimes I make. The sentences. All sharp and jagged. Deliberately. To inject pace. And edginess.

... and the editor irons them all out again into more "proper English". (cue another "discussion").

I've been asked more than a few times what authors should do in the face of suggested edits. All I can say is don't be too precious, just honest.

Everyone working with you has the same interest - making your book as good as it can possibly be. So take on board their views, but - and here's the important bit... 

If there's something you've written that you're absolutely wedded to, and are sure should be how you've penned it, then stand by your beliefs and keep it that way. 

After all, the name on the cover is going to be yours, no one else's.