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Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

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Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:46 am

Ask away!! Anything about books, publishing, editing, writing, etc.

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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:16 am

Ask do. And here's a topic to get you started. Pet peeves when reading. What have you found in book after book lately that you just want to have stop?
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Constance on Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:38 pm

Immature/too-mature characters. I hate characters that aren't at the maturity level they're supposed to be.
What are your pet peeves?
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Renée on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:28 pm

Characters whose parents are either absent (so they can't interfere with MC's activities) or dead. I haven't seen a good, realistic child-parent relationship in a new book/debut in years. And snarky MCs. WAY too many of those. It's gotten to the point that I won't read a book if it comes off as overly snarky(which is most prominent in female protagonists, as if the author thinks they need sarcasm to be strong), because that isn't realistic—no one is that witty every second of every day. So…yes. Those are my pet peeves. Very Happy
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:39 pm

I agree with the other two. I have a list of things I hate in books, but the one I'm feeling most keenly right now is really really pretty boys. Over-described, way-too-hot boys in books. Pet. Peeve.

I actually have a question. Do you have any advice on dialogue tags? Like what to avoid, not do, do to make it flow better, etc.? I've been extra aware of this lately and am looking for any tips or advice.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Renée on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:41 pm

Yes! I remembered my question! XD

What is you average editing speed? Like, (in writing editing, not story editing) how much time do you spend on a page(double space TNR), or, how many pages do you tend to finish in an hour? I ask because I'm dreadfully slow, and, as an aspiring editor, I'd like to know what is generally expected. Very Happy
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:33 pm

Ack! I've been MIA. I'm back. And will now answer your questions.
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:44 pm

I actually have a question. Do you have any advice on dialogue tags? Like what to avoid, not do, do to make it flow better, etc.? I've been extra aware of this lately and am looking for any tips or advice.

So here's the thing. Dialogue tags are called tags because that's what they should do--tag along. They're there to tell you who's saying what and, from time to time, how that content is being delivered. But your tags shouldn't be doing the majority of the work. Your dialogue should. Or your narration.

And if I'm being perfectly truthful with you guys (which I totally want to be) this is one of those things I've had to learn as I learn how to be an editor. I used to hate constant strings of "he said" "she said." I wanted variety. I'd blithely suggest "exclaimed," "sighed," "declared," "whispered," "hissed." But the fact is that each of these has a specific purpose, and it's fine to use one of these if it falls into that purpose, but not just to spice it up. For instance, if there are no "esses" in what's being said, you just can't hiss it, and exclamations and declarations are not the average content of dialogue.

So your tags should fade back into the text. And there's nothing wrong with the word "said." And if you give me a page full of "said's," I'm still going to ask you to change some of them. Because old habits die hard.
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:53 pm

What is you average editing speed? Like, (in writing editing, not story editing) how much time do you spend on a page(double space TNR), or, how many pages do you tend to finish in an hour? I ask because I'm dreadfully slow, and, as an aspiring editor, I'd like to know what is generally expected.

Oh Renée, have no fear, because I'm really slow, too. I can't remember how long I actually take, but I want to say I average like 20-25 pages an hour on a double spaced mss. (I'm editing tomorrow, so now I feel like I need to time myself!)

But the fact is that how long it takes to edit is dependent on how much work you have to do on that page, what stage you are in the book, and what your ultimate aim is. In earlier editing stages, you might be dealing with overarching issues, so you could theoretically go faster because you're not directly engaging in the text as much as, say, when you're line editing and really getting into the nitty gritty of sentence construction.

And yet. . . I, personally, am a hands-on editor. And I ask a gazillion questions and make a bajillion comments like, "love this" and "haha." And those take a lot of time.

And as to what's average, I haven't the faintest clue. I would say it depends on the project and the editor to really determine.
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Re: Ask editor Alison Weiss #11 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:30 pm

@Alison Awesome! Thank you SO much. That cleared things right up-- especially the bit about how your dialogue should do most of the work for you.

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