Editing is everything. Writing a first draft is akin to moving a big block of marble into a sculptor’s studio. It’s hard, and it requires some finesse, but mostly it’s just heavy lifting. It isn’t art. The art happens when the marble starts getting chipped away to find the Pieta within. And that is the role of the editor — with luck, in concert with the writer.
Writers don’t need to roll over to every change an editor demands. Standing up for one’s work is fine. But writers whose first impulse is resistance, who swoon and gnash their teeth over any changes, are making a serious mistake. Writing is collaborative, and that second pair of eyeballs is as important, in many ways, as the first. Dan Baum, journalist (via booksandpublishing)
On the use of “said”…
“It’s okay to use that word,” Erlenwald said. “Said is neutral, and good for when there is no distinctive tone in a sentence. It’s invisible, at least up to a point.
“But,” she continued, “the word you should be using is the one that’s most appropriate to how the character is emoting! Since people don’t speak in monotones, ‘said’ shouldn’t be attached to every dialogue tag you use.”
“SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOUT!” she screamed.
“Using only said-alternatives is silly, but so is using said for everything,” she declared.
“After all,” she whispered, “some characters can be at times very quiet.”
“Or even aggressive,” she snarled. “And your tags should reflect that, grr!”
Then she smiled. “But in the end,” she said, with a shrug, “as a writer far more famous than me once said, a good writer uses the right word and not its second cousin.”
Fanfiction sits at the margins of mainstream creative endeavour, and interrogates established views of what it means to be a writer; the meaning of intellectual property, creativity, originality, ‘ownership;’ and traditional boundaries surrounding these concepts, as well as the whole vexed issue of international rights. As a publishing person and daughter of an artist, I have an uneasy relationship with how fanfiction steps on these well-established fences, particularly with regards to the fanfiction based on novels, rather than TV or films. (The latter seems more ‘legitimate,’ but that might just be justification for my own interest.)
In many ways, fanfiction is, and has been for many years, ahead of its time in terms of its embrace of the possibilities and potential of digital technology, of community and niche interests, its very questioning of established domains of knowledge and ‘right/s,’ and its acknowledgement of the role reading plays in writing. As Saul Bellow said, “A writer is a reader moved to emulation.” The leaching of boundaries described above is exemplified by the infinite trail of hyperlinks on the web (Derrida anyone?). It is therefore apt that fanfiction should exist online, and make use of the technology that allows deferment of meaning and certainty; a metaphorical and literal leaking of content from the container (…). Anna von Veh, What Can Trade Publishers Learn from Fanfiction? (via fanhackers)
Why Genre Is Such A Big Tragedy
Genre. I loved it once. The word. The very concept. That delightful French-style curl on the ‘-r’ that makes it less of a word and more of a noise. But I’ve come to a recent realisation, one that makes me sad and angry and a little bit giddy, all at the same time.
Genre’s a bitch.