Saturday, March 16, 2013

How Much Can An Editor Edit Your Work?

Seeing that I do not even have an agent yet, this subject might just be a bit premature to address, but a recent article on this subject in Writer's Digest caught my eye for obvious reasons.  I have been working on my "work in progress" for over three years (yes, that's three years).  I am as finished as I will ever be; I just re-read it after taking a few months break and I actually really do like it and have changed no more than a word here and there.

So, assuming that I am fortunate enough to land an agent and then get signed by a publishing house, am I back to square one?   What if the editor is not too thrilled with the work and starts re-writing?  How much re-writing can she or he do or ask for?  What types of edits can they request or recommend? Can they rip into pieces what I spent years to put together?

Thanks for your thoughts on this.


  1. E.D.,
    I was shocked by all the red lines and cross outs in my manuscript by my AGENT and then again by my editor.

    My manuscript was ripped to shreds, but they liked the premise and were willing to work with me. I was left with a couple lines untouched in whole chapters! What's really bad is editors with publishing houses do very little editing these days. They correct one chapter and leave you to do the shaving off 10K words or rewriting 25K words. That's the bad news.

    Now on the other hand, your writing may be tight and on point in which it will not need much rewriting. Good luck.

  2. From everything I've read about agents and editors the answer to your question is--'yes'.

  3. Sure they can. :) But from my experience, they're right. And it's not like they tell you HOW to fix things-- they just point out issues, and you come up with your own way to solve it (or you can brainstorm with them). The story is still very much yours in the end. And really, you get a second wind when you start working with an editor, no matter how tired you are of working on it when you submit. And in the end, you'll love your book even more than you thought possible.

    Re: your comment about NY on my blog-- I would love suggestions on places to eat! If you get a chance, will you email me? I don't have your email address. Mine is peggyeddleman at gmail dot com.