Saturday, September 26, 2015

Where have you gone, Maxwell Perkins?

The most troubling thing about rewrites is that I can't always be sure I'm actually improving the book.  I mean, I may be making it worse. It's a judgment call every time, and I'm bound to get it wrong sometimes. I figure it's a three steps forward, two steps back kind of thing.

Anyway, was asking myself whether I should have added a long scene at the end of the Blood of the Succubus.

"Well, it makes it more interesting." I say outloud.

That pretty much answers the question. (Yeah, it's weird, I talk to myself a lot.)

So I'm struggling to make this book as good as I can. I've not only taken the extra time to do a final rewrite, I've not only had two different editors go over it, one of them more than once, but I've also designated yet another week to do nothing but mull it over and try to come up with improvements.

And yet -- there is always the tendency to say to myself, "Let them fix it."

Them?  The mythical editor.

I've never had one. Not one of my books has really been edited by a publisher, (well, copy-edited, which is nothing to sneeze at) but not edited in the sense of a thoughtful professional saying, "This book would be stronger with this addition or that subtraction."

I don't know if that exists anymore, even with the traditional publishers. Either you present a book that's ready or you don't.

I suppose the big guns get that treatment, but probably not too many others. It makes sense. There are tons of writers. Publishers can just pick the books that are ready, and ignore the rest.

Still, wouldn't it be cool to have a long-term professional to really go through the book and "fix it?" I dream that such an editor could up my game, move me to a higher level.

I swear, I'd probably learn a lot. also maybe a case of "Watch out what you wish for." There are tons of horror stories about intrusive and misguided editors.  So...don't want that.

But a Maxwell Perkins type editor would be educational, you know?

Like I said, it probably doesn't really matter on how I treat my books. I have to make them as good as I can with the assumption that no one is going to fix it.  Another way of putting it is "Good enough isn't good enough." Make it good, period.

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