moments before the wind.

August 15, 2006

i don’t think i meant

Filed under: authenticity, business, marketing, music, reviews, writing — alimarcus @ 10:30 pm

On my mind tonight is not a long black train but editors. Every editor is different. Every editing process is different. From working with various editors I have developed a lot of opinions about what works and what doesn’t. I think it’s pretty amazing the way you don’t even consider the existence of things until it somehow becomes a part of your everyday life and then you realize that you have options and choices to make. Being a freelancer will do that to you, I suppose.

The most frustrating experience is when you open a magazine, read your article, and find that the entire thing has deviated from pretty much everything you intended. What’s frustrating is not that it happened, but the way it happened, because when this stuff comes as a surprise, it makes the writer feel out of the loop; not being consulted makes you feel like what you intended isn’t so important, and that’s not a great way for an author to feel. Connected to my gripe about the fact that editorial and advertising tones of voice seem to be waaaaaaay too similar pretty much across the board, is the fact that lots of changes made that really bug me, personally, are the ones to this effect. Being proactive with editors about these kinds of situations is essential – a lesson I am still learning how to navigate. I think most writers are. And I think the coveted situation is when a writer and editor see eye to eye on their back-and-forth commentary.

And some editors are so up front, very specific, and incredibly adept at really seeing things from the writer’s point of view. Sometimes it is an issue of the writer’s ability to write clearly, and sometimes it’s the inability on the part of the editor to really make the effort to understand. So those that are attentive and detailed, the ones that bring up sentences not to correct grammar but to ask for further explanation, for their own clarification – those are the ones I am really beginning to admire.

I wonder if there are writers out there who are opposite, who prefer the authority over collaboration. I wonder why that would be.

I’m also curious about the whole concept of a publication having a “voice.” I definitely understand the motivation behind it – continuity, professionalism, strength of purpose – but in practice it feels, from a writer’s perspective, sometimes too contrived. Restricting, really. Copywriting for marketing or other business purposes, sure, I get that, but when it comes to a more creative bend on things, I often wonder about preserving artistic integrity. But all artists take criticism personally. It’s a matter of audience, time, patience, money, fact, et al.

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