Monday, December 2, 2013
Authors Are Their Words
I had mentioned in my previous post that I do not like to rewrite passages when editing other people’s works. I think that when I take away somebody else’s words and substitute my own, I have robbed that author of his or her voice, and that passage stops being something they wrote. At its core, this comes from my belief that authors are their words. Millions of people have the same thoughts and ideas every day. What makes my writing different from your writing isn’t necessarily what I say, but it is how I say it. My words are my voice, my outlook, my literary soul. No matter how detached or thick-skinned I can be when somebody edits my work, when they remove my words and put theirs in, it always comes across as “what you said is just wrong; I need to do this for you.” When I edit, I try not to ever rewrite; I will only give revisions. However, if something will need to be rewritten, I will tell the author to do it. I will point out which passages aren’t working, explain to them why it doesn’t work, and give suggestions on how to improve it. But I won’t give them my words. At the end of the day, if they didn’t write it, then it’s not their work.