Q&A Part 43: Working with Editors

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@aprilkirk asks: When books go through the publishing process, I've read that authors are sometimes asked to change or cut certain parts, whether to make the book more marketable or to improve the story. While going through edits, have you ever had to make a cut or change a scene that you later regretted or missed?

A good editor asks questions--can this be tightened, can that character's motivation be clearer, can the pace be quickened--rather than make suggestions. But no editor ever forces a book to be different--at least no editor I would ever work with. 

That said, change is hard, and I definitely have bucked up against suggestions before. For me, it's important to know why a suggestion is being made. I don't like it when an editor just says "change this." But I can work with something like, "change this because..."

In A Million Suns, I did a lot of rewriting, because I changed who the villain was in the second draft. There's one scene where I describe a set of doors with carvings on them in great detail. I still vividly know what those doors look like. But...I cut that scene. I had to, for pacing and because the description wasn't needed. But when writing Shades of Earth, I....forgot that I cut that scene. I wrote several chapters where those doors come back into play and hold a secret clue, and it wasn't until after I finished that I'd have to delete it all because the doors weren't there! 

I definitely regret that one :)

There's another change I did in A World Without You that I'm still on the fence about. It deals with the ending. I went back and forth several times, and in the end, the deadline approached, and I had to make a call. I think I made the right call, but I worry about that. 

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