Sunday, February 25, 2007

Editing styles and Comic Con

I missed my day to post last week due to the President's Day holiday, so I'll try to make it up by posting about two different topics. First, the ever-curious Katherine asked me this in the comments section of my "Remembering Childhood" post.

I was wondering. How differently do you edit the various authors/illustrators you work with? Does the author's workstyle and personality enter into how you edit them? Do you look for changes in roundabout ways? ...or are you very direct? Do you ever suggest a book idea to an author?

Let's see. Although I do have a general way/style I usually edit, I would say that I do adjust my editing style depending on the author's or illustrator's work styles and personalities. For example, during much of the editing process with Libby on Blow Out the Moon, we felt comfortable enough to go over edits over the phone. I knew that Libby would not get defensive, or if she did, that she would be able to put it aside for a little while. But so far no other author has preferred to work with like this, so generally I do the standard editorial letter and edits directly on the manuscript that I discussed in my "How I Edit" post.

I think I'm pretty direct when I ask for changes, but I will very rarely say anything like, "reword it this way." Instead, I'll just comment if something is awkward or needs rewording and have the author come up with the solution. I may offer some suggestions for alternate solutions to plot or believability issues, however. Overall, I think I have a fairly light touch when I edit. Is this roundabout? I'm not sure.

And finally, do I ever suggest book ideas to authors? I'm sure I've thrown out ideas to authors before, but usually not ones that are entirely originally, instead, I think I've thrown out ideas on different ways to approach an idea they've already had themselves.


On Saturday I went to Comic Con for the first time. I was scheduled to work at my company's booth from 12:30 to 2, which basically entailed telling people about the three of our Fall 2007 middle grade and young adult ARCs we were giving away (the rest of the books we were giving away were on the adult side), Betwixt, Atherton, and the third book in James Patterson's Maximum Ride series. Then, at 1 pm Patrick McDonnell (creator of the Mutts comic strip and author/illustrator of Gift of Nothing, Art, Just Like Heaven, and the upcoming Hug Time) signed posters for an hour. It was great to see all of his fans, including many children. Everyone was so nice and friendly and excited. I loved this girl with her cat hat.
I walked the show for an hour or so after the signing, running into at one point Fuse #8, and we chatted for a while, both a bit dazed and confused. I was so tired and overwhelmed at that point, too much to see. A lot of people were dressed up, but it wasn't quite as crazy as I thought it would be, although some of the costumes were amazing. At 4 pm I went to Cecil Castelluci and Jim Rugg's signing at the DC Comics booth of The Plain Janes, said hello to agent Barry Goldblatt, and then escaped the madness. Here are some pics:


Anonymous said...

Sounds about like my Comic Con experience in San Diego last summer, though I went "incognito" as retail help for the overall Wizards booth rather than officially as a Mirrorstone editor. It was cool to see all the people dressed up, and there were several Star Trek and Firefly stars who came to sign in several booths. I even saw Joss Whedon at a restaurant one night, and was within about 10 feet of him as he was escorted to the private dining room. Dang, if I'd only been more observant outside while we were waiting for our table, I might have noticed he was HANGING OUT WITH MY COWORKERS for a moment!

Oh well. I'm sure he's a very busy man and it was enough to add it to my small list of celebrity sightings (which include interrupting Steve Young on a date back before he got married and running into Joan Cusack in a Chicago mall, nearly literally).

(Was the Elvis Stormtrooper at the NY Comic Con? If not, you're missing out on a SDCC treat!)


On the first part of your post, editing styles, you make a very good point about temperaments of authors affecting how you edit at least in small ways. I think it's really important to know how to phrase suggestions so that your author will use it to improve the book, rather than get defensive, and with different personalities sometimes it takes different ways of expression. Ursula Nordstrom talks about it in an excellent article, "Editing Books for Young People," that I've been meaning to blog about for a while. It's on my list of things to talk about this week, actually.

P.S. You must write this the night before, I'm sure, and somehow set it to post at a certain time? Because I'm always baffled at posts coming from the East Coast at 1 a.m. my time (Pacific), which is only 4 a.m. Eastern, and the time stamp saying 7 a.m. or something like that. Fuse #8 does that, too--it's like y'all have a time machine out there!

alvinaling said...

I didn't see ANY Stormtroopers, although I was told by several people that there were tons of them around. So, no Elvis. Boo! And I didn't see any celebrities, either, although our Publicity Director saw Kevin Smith!

I actually did post this around 1 am after the Oscars. I took a 1/2 vacation day this morning and wanted to sleep in.