How much should an anthology editor change your story?


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Thread: How much should an anthology editor change your story?

  1. #1

    How much should an anthology editor change your story?

    I have been published in many magazines and anthologies and never before had my stories changed other than grammatical clean-up and some clarity issues. I have recently had another story accepted to an anthology but they sent me changes on it that change the characters' voices and description of their surroundings. (Ex: editor wants to change the planetarium to stars projected on the ceiling and I have it set as stars as lights suspended from the ceiling) Does anyone know if this is normal? Or should I pull my story from an editor who wants to make excessive story changes? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    It's not unusual to get content edits for a story for an anthology, especially if it's a themed one. All comments from an editor are only ever recommendations, though: you don't have to agree with them. If you don't want to do the change, just leave a stet comment: Stet: please retain as this important plot etc. If the editor is saying you MUST change it, then that's not an editor you really want to work with.

    What do you mean about changes to character voice, though? Is there a reason for that change in particular?
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.



  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by EmFluke View Post
    I have been published in many magazines and anthologies and never before had my stories changed other than grammatical clean-up and some clarity issues. I have recently had another story accepted to an anthology but they sent me changes on it that change the characters' voices and description of their surroundings. (Ex: editor wants to change the planetarium to stars projected on the ceiling and I have it set as stars as lights suspended from the ceiling) Does anyone know if this is normal? Or should I pull my story from an editor who wants to make excessive story changes? Thank you in advance.
    I just got finished rewriting most of a entire story at the request of an editor. Not pleasant, but the end result was better, I expect it usually is - most editors of legitimate publications probably know more about writing than you and I do. The rewrite also meant it got accepted a week later and will be published in August.

    As Aquilo says you have absolute sovereignty over your work. If it matters to you, assert yourself. Of course understanding that the editor is probably not going to accept your work if you refuse to comply with what they want. Is your story worth that much?

    Your decision though.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by EmFluke View Post
    I have been published in many magazines and anthologies and never before had my stories changed other than grammatical clean-up and some clarity issues. I have recently had another story accepted to an anthology but they sent me changes on it that change the characters' voices and description of their surroundings. (Ex: editor wants to change the planetarium to stars projected on the ceiling and I have it set as stars as lights suspended from the ceiling) Does anyone know if this is normal? Or should I pull my story from an editor who wants to make excessive story changes? Thank you in advance.
    Totally normal. I can't say from experience because, well, I don't have too much in the publishing regard, but I've heard it done with novels so I'm sure the same thing happens with short stories. They shouldn't be telling you what to change, though. Maybe on a line to line bases, but they shouldn't be inputting themselves and instead should be offering what they'd like to see and have you change it.

    Then again, I don't know. I'm getting this from secondhand sources that were focused more on novel editors.
    "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand." - Raymond Chandler

  5. #5
    i have personally pulled a story from an anthology when the editor did this exact same thing to me.
    because the story had a dark sense of humor to it. the editor changed it so dramatically though, that
    it wasn't even funny anymore. it was meant to be humorous. but the way it was changed, made the story dull and boring.
    and this was actually a fairly decent paying anthology series that i would've liked to add to my resume at the time.
    but the edited version was such a hack-job, i said no way. i didn't want my name attached to what they did to it.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  6. #6
    An alternative is to simply rewrite those scenes yourself, but do it better than the editor.
    He wants to change it because he thinks it could be better, so show him/her better.
    Their suggestions indicate that they are not happy with those spots, so fix 'em. Make them better.
    Remind them why YOU are the author and they are the editors.

  7. #7
    I'd try to figure out WHY the changes are being made. What's the problem the editor is trying to address? I don't think I've ever gotten edits that didn't include this information, but it sounds like this version didn't? So I'd ask for it. Why does the editor want the planetarium to look a certain way? What's the goal behind that change?

    Then you can assess whether you want to make the changes or not.

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