Wednesday, June 10, 2015

That Editing... So Hot Right Now

by Bethany Maines

It's that time again. The editing time.  The time when I get back all the stupidy stupidy line edits and have to go through and approve them. That's the worst part.  I have to approve them.  OK, I don't absolutely HAVE to, but the truth is about 8 out of every 10 line edits are the correct decision. Of the other two, one is probably a matter of preference and the other is absolutely right the way it was the first time. Why don't you understand my genius you piddling moron who is merely paid to sift through the words and divine my sheer awesomeness?

It's possible that the last sentence there was a bit of an overstatement.

But my secret internal Mugatu doesn't think it was.

Mugatu, for those who haven't watched the hilariously improbable Zoolander, is the fashion designer / evil genius, played by Will Ferrell, who is attempting kill the prime minister of Malaysia by brainwashing male model Derek Zoolander. Many writers, myself included, seem to yo-yo between the states of modesty (I write pretty well), ego (I'm a genius!!), and self-hatred (why would anyone read the crap I produce?). I picture modesty as the quiet saintly type – a Buddhist nun (who secretly knows kung fu) and self-hatred as the goggly-eyed guy from the Maltese Falcon who says the worst things in the sweetest voice.  And nowhere are those states of being more quickly cycled through than the editing rounds. Each tweak of the text from the editor is like some sort of judgement from on high that can send me off into a Mugatu-esque rage or goggly-eyed shame spiral.  It's up the the Kung Fu nun to bring balance and harmony. Although, admittedly sometimes the nun needs a little help from a glass of wine and a jog around the block.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, Tales from the City of Destiny and An Unseen Current.  You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. We do love our babies, and don't understand how anyone could think there could possibly be wrong with them in any way, shape or form!

  2. Frankly, I love edits. If my critique group didn't give me lots of criticism I wouldn't go anymore. I don't have to use everything they tell me, but if they have a problem, whatever it is probably needs work. Same with edits from the publisher.

    1. I don't mind the critique's of "this scene needs tweaking". At least not tons. Like you said, I can decide to not use it. But for some reason line edits, were a copyeditor has decided she didn't like that semicolon (or whatever) just enrage me. I simmer down and get over it, but my knee jerk reaction is "HATE IT".