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How much do you care once it's finished? (1 Viewer)

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luckyscars

WF Veterans
I recently spoke to a couple of friends who are just getting into publishing and one thing that kept coming up was how worried they were about their stories being "messed with" (their phrase) by agents, editors, publishers, whoever.

Leaving aside whether that's a valid concern, I thought it was an interesting attitude. It's not the first time I have heard it. One of the reasons I keep hearing for why people like self-publishing is because they can retain editorial control over their own work. Some writers seem obsessed with this.

I think it's interesting because I pretty much don't share that desire at all. That's not to say I want my work to be "messed with", only that I don't care very much if it is. So long as the end result is demonstrably of good quality and we're not talking extremely outlandish overhauls of everything, I don't mind if a publishing professional wants to make quite major changes to accommodate their preferences. So long as I have faith in their judgment as a professional, even if I don't *love* their ideas, I'm probably not bothered, certainly not to the point I would refuse. I don't honestly see a purpose in fighting to keep something in or leave something out.

I guess that sounds weird and possibly a bit servile or something, but it's not really. I just simply don't feel a huge attachment once something is finished. I feel hugely attached to my work while I am writing it, but once it is completed I move on pretty quickly. There are stories I have written and even published that I have pretty much forgotten about by now. I have copies of all the books on my shelf and I have yet to re-read any of them and probably won't.

So I guess my question is how much do you care about your work after it is written? Do you still dwell on the characters and worlds a lot and is defending your 'original vision' important to you once the writing is completely done? If so, why is that? What do you feel there is to be gained by having a story unchanged or close to unchanged from what you originally intended?
 

Lee Messer

Senior Member
I recently spoke to a couple of friends who are just getting into publishing and one thing that kept coming up was how worried they were about their stories being "messed with" (their phrase) by agents, editors, publishers, whoever.

Leaving aside whether that's a valid concern, I thought it was an interesting attitude. It's not the first time I have heard it. One of the reasons I keep hearing for why people like self-publishing is because they can retain editorial control over their own work. Some writers seem obsessed with this.

I think it's interesting because I pretty much don't share that desire at all. That's not to say I want my work to be "messed with", only that I don't care very much if it is. So long as the end result is demonstrably of good quality and we're not talking extremely outlandish overhauls of everything, I don't mind if a publishing professional wants to make quite major changes to accommodate their preferences. So long as I have faith in their judgment as a professional, even if I don't *love* their ideas, I'm probably not bothered, certainly not to the point I would refuse. I don't honestly see a purpose in fighting to keep something in or leave something out.

I guess that sounds weird and possibly a bit servile or something, but it's not really. I just simply don't feel a huge attachment once something is finished. I feel hugely attached to my work while I am writing it, but once it is completed I move on pretty quickly. There are stories I have written and even published that I have pretty much forgotten about by now. I have copies of all the books on my shelf and I have yet to re-read any of them and probably won't.

So I guess my question is how much do you care about your work after it is written? Do you still dwell on the characters and worlds a lot and is defending your 'original vision' important to you once the writing is completely done? If so, why is that? What do you feel there is to be gained by having a story unchanged or close to unchanged from what you originally intended?

Care not. I will create a greater work to compensate my first loss. The point is the first book must be sold. I want my shoe in.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
Once you sign a contract and get paid, it's not really yours anymore, depending on the contents of the contracts. Someone paid you for it. Now it's their problem. Once it's out in the world, I'm too busy working on my next project to care that much.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I do very much care, BUT....as I have learned recently, sometimes you have to bend a little to get what you want. My recent short story that was published had a very simple title, but it spoke to the type of story it represented without giving away too much.

Unfortunately, the publisher wanted the title changed or said work wouldn't get published. After suggesting several alternate titles, I eventually went with the title that the publisher had come up with, so as to get it published. I don't like to compromise my own work like this, but sometimes there is little choice. It was either change the title of the story, or don't have it published at all.

Not much of a choice, when you think about it.

-JJB
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
I would like to think the main premises and concepts of the story is why they agreed to publish my book. Any minor details they feel would be better, no problem. For something major I would need to be persuaded.
This.

If they wanted a different story, they wouldn't have purchased the rights to that one. There are a million other stories that would probably be a better fit than yours if they wanted something distinctly different.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I would like to think the main premises and concepts of the story is why they agreed to publish my book. Any minor details they feel would be better, no problem. For something major I would need to be persuaded.

I feel the same way. While I was slightly miffed about having to change the title of my story, I convinced myself that it's no big deal. Nothing else was modified except that, so it's small potatoes. Might as well not sweat the small stuff.

-JJB
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
I have a lot of attachments to my work, but on my current level of writing, getting revised by editor or agent would be a nice thing.

What I'm worried about is altering by the means of censoring anything that's barely sensitive, followed by changes that drives the story away from its track.

I guess that falls under "messed with" as well.

Once you sign a contract and get paid, it's not really yours anymore, depending on the contents of the contracts. Someone paid you for it. Now it's their problem.

What Cephus said here is correct.

I work in a field of art myself. There are far too many results I'm unhappy with, because of clients' mess-around during the production.

While in writing, considering the ideas came from myself, to have someone else messing things up to the point I must give it up and ditch the work and yet still tagging my name/pen-name on it, is gonna be much more painful to bear.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
I know an author who lives in Australia who took her work to an American publisher. They wanted her to Americanise her story. As it was largely autobiographical, she felt that she couldn't do that while maintaining the flavour. Instead, she went to another publisher who accepted it pretty much as it was. I'm not referring to an established author but to a debutant. However, it helped that she was more interested in getting her story out there rather than in making money from it.
I imagine this to be exceptional.
 

Newman

Senior Member
I recently spoke to a couple of friends who are just getting into publishing and one thing that kept coming up was how worried they were about their stories being "messed with" (their phrase) by agents, editors, publishers, whoever.

Leaving aside whether that's a valid concern, I thought it was an interesting attitude. It's not the first time I have heard it. One of the reasons I keep hearing for why people like self-publishing is because they can retain editorial control over their own work. Some writers seem obsessed with this.

I think it's interesting because I pretty much don't share that desire at all. That's not to say I want my work to be "messed with", only that I don't care very much if it is. So long as the end result is demonstrably of good quality and we're not talking extremely outlandish overhauls of everything, I don't mind if a publishing professional wants to make quite major changes to accommodate their preferences. So long as I have faith in their judgment as a professional, even if I don't *love* their ideas, I'm probably not bothered, certainly not to the point I would refuse. I don't honestly see a purpose in fighting to keep something in or leave something out.

I guess that sounds weird and possibly a bit servile or something, but it's not really. I just simply don't feel a huge attachment once something is finished. I feel hugely attached to my work while I am writing it, but once it is completed I move on pretty quickly. There are stories I have written and even published that I have pretty much forgotten about by now. I have copies of all the books on my shelf and I have yet to re-read any of them and probably won't.

So I guess my question is how much do you care about your work after it is written? Do you still dwell on the characters and worlds a lot and is defending your 'original vision' important to you once the writing is completely done? If so, why is that? What do you feel there is to be gained by having a story unchanged or close to unchanged from what you originally intended?

It's a collaborative endeavour and powerful people will influence/change it (e.g. if it's a screenplay and sold). Interestingly, Coppola is releasing a new cut of Godfather 3, so he obviously cares: https://www.everythingzoomer.com/ar...-cut-the-godfather-part-iii-30th-anniversary/
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
One of the joys (and pitfalls) of self publishing is that you control the final form your story takes.

I self publish. That said, I have a professional editor and cover designer (2 different people of course). My editor is especially helpful - along with any plot holes etc. she finds, she offers suggestions as to what would make it better, and I am free to take her advice or not. What I produce is mine, and I like it that way.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
This summer I read the two volume bio of Robert Heinlein, which contained copious correspondence between Heinlein and his agent, and some between Heinlein and his editor. Some required editorial changes didn't bother him, and some infuriated him. As a name author, he was able to fight and win some of those battles, but less often than he rewrote to editorial demand.

He got to calm down on the way to the bank ... every time. How many of us are really writing "art", even if we think we are? And what good does it do if no one but us and possibly some beta readers are the only witnesses to the work?

As others have advised, if you have the opportunity to be published and cash the check, don't blow it. Writers are going to have ego. It goes with the territory. Check that ego at the mailbox (on the street or in the email).
 
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