Help an editor keep their cool
September 16, 2011 4:23 PM Subscribe
I've been asked to type up and edit a work of fiction for a friend / relative / neighbor, and it's driving me nuts.
posted by bad grammar to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How can I adapt my frame of mind so that I am not driven mad by working on a MSS. that I have major issues with. Writer does not have a computer, writer is not on the Internet, so the likelihood is very small that writer is reading AskMe.
Writer is turgid; there are long, static descriptions that read more like "A Tour Guide to _______" than anything else, and that do not serve to advance the plot, which is supposed to be suspenseful.
Writer inserts soft-core porn scenes that make me quite uncomfortable; furthermore, these also do nothing to advance the plot.
Writer's subject falls into a socio-political ballpark that I have problems with.
I'm letting you fill in the blanks; the work could be a suspense fic set in multiple countries, a historical novel, or a work of science fiction, fantasy, or fanfic. I may have been asked to type up a James Bond or Tom Clancy homage, an Ayn Rand historical novel, or a SF novel similar to Heinlein or the Gor novels. To be fair, I don't think and I don't want you to think that Writer's fiction is as far right as that. It isn't deep red (in the sense of red state). But it's definitely reddish. I am blue, and probably indigo.
Should I bail out, when, how without provoking a major unpleasantness? At present I shut off my brain when doing the typing and suggest corrections only when something is objectively wrong; I am not there to pass judgement on Writer's work. I have been quite polite.
I realize professional editors frequently have to work with and edit writers whose work they don't like. I would not like to believe that the editors of Orson Scott Card's novels (OSC has been discussed many times on Mefi) have the same beliefs about gay people as Card, and what if said editor, copy editor, etc. is gay? What mental tricks do editors use to distance themselves from a work and the author?
Of course, professional editors need to help the publishers make money and can refuse a work if it is not good, so perhaps I need advice from beta readers of fanfic. What do you do when a close acquaintance has just added to the chronicles of Mary Sue?