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  #21  
Old 13 February 2018, 04:48 PM
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Can you get away with not mentioning a specific age? Could you say something like 'early-mid teens' or would your editor(s) have a hissy fit over that as well?
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  #22  
Old 13 February 2018, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Depends entirely on the editor. Each one has a variety of crotchets. One writer i know gripes because her editor always inserts a reference to violets in her books because "good writers have trademark references." The writer swears she is setting her next book in the Sahara.
Piers Anthony republished his novel But What of Earth? as a story of what happens to a novel when the editors get out of control. Multiple pages of the novel are massive footnotes comprising comments, revisions, and revision wars between the many editors. The novel itself (either version) is not remarkable, but the interplay of editors makes it an interesting read.
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  #23  
Old 13 February 2018, 06:11 PM
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In the same odd way that I find documentaries about how some movie was made more than I liked the movie itself, I guess.

~Psihala
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  #24  
Old 13 February 2018, 06:32 PM
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I don't think you are alone. The Disaster Artist has made almost 50 times as much as The Room.
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  #25  
Old 13 February 2018, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Depends entirely on the editor. Each one has a variety of crotchets. One writer i know gripes because her editor always inserts a reference to violets in her books because "good writers have trademark references." The writer swears she is setting her next book in the Sahara.
Doesn’t that cross the line from editing to interfering?
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  #26  
Old 15 February 2018, 04:38 PM
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Been fighting a stomach bug for the last couple of days, so now I'm catching up. I am within touching distance of the end of the first draft, but probably won't be able to write the last five thousand words or so until the weekend.

Then rewriting and revisions, which for me are the fun part of writing. I despise slogging through first drafts.

Anyway, crossing the line from editing to meddling: That happens all the time. I know many writers who consider editors their natural enemies. The best editors always at least negotiate; but some will actually rewrite (sometimes substantial) parts of manuscripts and the writer discovers that only when correcting proof sheets.

One SF editor (now deceased) was notorious for arbitrary changes--a black character becomes an Asian one because "Asians read more SF." The arrangement of seats at a banquet is altered because "I want the hero to be between two seductive alien girls." That sort of junk.

My editor once changed a description of a vital object (it was a clue in a mystery) in a way that made no sense because she misunderstood the significance of the numbers mentioned. Fortunately, I caught that at literally the last possible moment--the morning the book would have gone to press--and she was able to revert to the original wording.

And once upon a time the late Thomas Fuller and I had collaborated on a Wishbone book. After we had turned in the manuscript, the managing editor called me and asked why we hadn't included the winner of the Wishbone contest in the manuscript. (A fan's name was drawn, and the fan was to be written into the next Wishbone book, which was ours.)

Well, because he forgot to tell us. So after a drawn-out time that pushed us against the deadline wall, we finally got the info on the kid and completely rewrote the 45,000 word manuscript over a weekend to put him in the story.

Month later, we got the page proofs, and the guest star had utterly vanished, with all of his lines given to the regular kids. So I called our line editor to ask "What happened?

She snorted. "You don't have to introduce a new character! That character doesn't appear on the TV show!" She had written him out.

So I had her walk next door to tell her boss, the managing editor, was it OK to cut the kid from the book. I swear, I could hear him cursing over the phone.

She ran back, grabbed the phone, and in a blind panic, yelled, "For God's sake, tell me you can send me the original manuscript again!"

I emailed a file to her, and it was OK.

(The book was The Disoriented Express, and the contest winner was named, I kid you not, John Hancock. That was why our line editor had cut him. She had not known about the contest.)
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  #27  
Old 15 February 2018, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Then rewriting and revisions, which for me are the fun part of writing. I despise slogging through first drafts.
You, my friend, are completely the opposite of me. Whether it is a technical write, briefing note, manual or my dabbling in fiction, I love creating first drafts. I hate editing them.

I'm glad things are coming together for you.
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  #28  
Old 16 February 2018, 12:06 AM
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I appreciate your progress updates Brad. You inspire me and got me back working on my National Novel Writing Month story. It's young adult science fiction with a 14 year old heroine. This should go well. :/
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  #29  
Old 16 February 2018, 08:16 AM
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Every 14 year old I've known has been cool. Maybe it's a superstitious thing. Like it was 13 but some previous editor changed it to 14 without telling anyone.
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  #30  
Old 16 February 2018, 08:58 PM
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I'd say if you're writing a novel on spec without a specific publisher in mind, make the protagonist 14 if you want to. I do think the prohibition is, as I said, more of a superstition than anything else. I've seen this lots of times: "Boys won't read fantasy novels." "Girls don't like mysteries." Editors have a way of persuading themselves from a too-small sample that something that didn't work once will never work. Write the book YOU want to read, and then if you take it to market and an editor says, "I'll take this if you make the protagonist a year older," then consider whether it's worth it to you or not.

UEL, to me writing the first draft is chopping my way through a jungle--exhausting grunt work. But then when I revise, I get to shape the thing better, since now I know the route. I find shortcuts and places to linger; I have a sense of when to speed up or slow down. It's a great luxury to see the prototype get the fog lights, fins, and chrome trim that make it a thing of beauty (at least in the writer's biased eyes)!
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  #31  
Old 16 February 2018, 11:37 PM
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Brad, you have a beautiful way of expressing how you see language. It flows, it runs, it is like a stream or perhaps like a beautiful song.

Many great engineers and scientists I have known (I am not in this class by any means) describe mathematics the same way.
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  #32  
Old 17 February 2018, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
UEL, to me writing the first draft is chopping my way through a jungle--exhausting grunt work. But then when I revise, I get to shape the thing better, since now I know the route. I find shortcuts and places to linger; I have a sense of when to speed up or slow down. It's a great luxury to see the prototype get the fog lights, fins, and chrome trim that make it a thing of beauty (at least in the writer's biased eyes)!
I love the imagery Brad.

My visual example is something else. At work I love the developing of concepts, the bringing out of my head the thoughts and visions I have, how after a day's work where I have made major progress in providing focus and context to a project. Whereas when I edit, I am usually under a tight deadline, and a day's work may see nothing more than a page "tightened up" with a few word changes, paragraph rearrangements and formatting.

When I dabble in fiction, I love the creating of the universe, characters, story and interractions. I have a completely blank universe that I can go in any direction I want. I have my visual imagery of the carpenter creating a chair and table. The erecting of the legs of the table, creation of the table top, assembling the chair, and some planing and sanding to be sure. At the end, I have a functional table and chair. Unlike how I see the editing, which is the fine sanding, and taking a table leg off to put it on the lathe and reassemble, to do some fine planing and bevelling of the table edge to make it more visually appealing. It does not change the functionality of the table and chairs, but takes a lot of time and effort (and I dare say expertise) that I have trouble mustering.

Next time I take on a new editing task, I'll try to envision it as you do.
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  #33  
Old 17 February 2018, 06:31 PM
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This is all really interesting to read. Currently Mrs Off and I are attending a creative writing class at night school which we are really enjoying! Our current frustration is that the assignments are limited to 1200 words!
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  #34  
Old 17 February 2018, 11:20 PM
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Okay, dipping my oar in again . . . .

Today something reminded me of an incident thirty years ago. I was visiting the Science Fiction and Mystery Bookshop (alas, since defunct) in the North Highlands section of Atlanta. On the drive in, I'd noticed new signs along I-85 advising motorists to tune to (say 1555-AM) for information. I mentioned this and asked when the radio advising began. No one knew, but then someone said, "Who'd ever tune in, anyhow?"

"I did," I said.

"So what did it tell you?"

I told them, whatever--construction on the Northwest Freeway, the temperature high and low for the day, an accident slowing traffic on I-20.

Mark Stevens, the owner of the shop, said, "Only a writer would be interested in such trivia!"

Somebody else said, "Yeah, but you can't get a story out of it."

I said, without even thinking, "What about this: a guy is driving in, tunes in, and a voice on the radio promises him a reward if he picks up something and leaves it at a specific place on his route. He does and finds twenty dollars under a brick where he's supposed to make the drop. Then the next day another, and another, and another, until he's made a hundred drops and collected two thousand dollars. Then on the hundred and first day, the things he's dropped off all activate at once, and the city is whisked into another dimension."

"And--?"

"First chapter," I said. "Or the lonely guy tunes in and the voice on the radio is a sweet, seductive woman's voice. And it asks him questions and he begins to answer her. He falls in love with her, crazy in love, and wants to meet her in the flesh. The voice has him drive to Savannah and across the long causeway to Tybee Island--and halfway across, it tells him to drive off the bridge, and he does, and wakes up a ghost in the arms of a mermaid."

"Huh. Bet you can't do another one."

"The voice on the radio is that of his long-dead father, with a warning...."

I don't remember how many ping-pong balls I bounced back, but another writer (who was destined to be much more famous than I) clapped and said, "I am always going to remember to notice the inconsequential things."

Today I was watching a two-minute cartoon, a Gravity Falls short, "Mabel's Guide to Stickers." At one point, Mabel tries to convince the audience that the ancient Greeks created stickers and opens a book to prove it--the book is on screen for perhaps ten seconds. But I noticed the type was readable, and after several tries, paused the picture at just the right moment.

The book tells an idiotic myth about Domicles, who angered the gods with his hubris, but when the gods took umbrage, they discovered that not only was Domicles a shepherd, but also a robot that could fire lasers out of its face. He melted Apollo and Mercury (uh-Roman?) and then led the robots in a rebellion that conquered the Greeks and held them under oppression, mining igneous rocks.

However, the humans struck back, creating a Trojan Horse to capture the robo future-castle and overthrow their mechanical masters. And to my delight, the page ended, "Even though they were driven out, these mechanical beings did not despair. The robots beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Here am I, an old guy, working for ten minutes to freeze the screen just on the two or three frames where that was legible. And I laughed and thought of Matt Chapman, an Atlanta neighbor and co-creator of "Homestar Runner," who wrote that little gem of a tribute to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Notice the little things.
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  #35  
Old 22 February 2018, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
"Boys won't read fantasy novels." "Girls don't like mysteries." !
I guess your editors have never heard of Harry Potter or Nancy Drew.
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  #36  
Old 22 February 2018, 06:24 PM
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I guess your editors have never heard of Harry Potter or Nancy Drew.
Oh, you can never bring up Harry Potter to an editor. If you do, the reply is always "Harry Potter is an exception."
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  #37  
Old 22 February 2018, 07:37 PM
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Of course Harry Potter is an exception. Any book that makes that much money is an exception.

I would think they might be wondering whether there might be some connection between the two forms of exception.
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