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Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:45 am

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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Constance on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:26 pm

I do have questions, I do I do! However I have to run to work. I just wanted you to know you are not forgotten over here.

And happy February, by the way! ^_^
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:27 pm

Constance,

I will await your questions later. And happy February to you, too!
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Constance on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:36 pm

Okay, I'm back. Sorry for taking so long.

I don't have terribly complicated questions. Just questions.

Hmm…first of all, short stories. I hear all the time about how authors write short stories before novels, how they should start with short stories… I have never written a short story in my life. I don't really like reading them, either. My question is, how important do you think writing short stories is? I know it's probably good practice, having to focus on the plot or character development with so little space to work with. But would you consider it a vital (or at least strongly suggested) experience?

My second question! So I'm guessing you've at least heard of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Well. I read a Q&A from one of the producers of it, and he mentioned they were maybe considering making a book from the show, to sort of bring it full circle. I was wondering what your opinion was on show/movie-to-book adaptations in a scenario where the show was already adapted from a book…and also just movie-to-book adaptations. I've heard the commentary on book-to-movie adaptations. I'm curious what the opposite view is.

Anyway. Those were all.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Rachel on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:57 pm

Hi Editor Alison!

I've been thinking a lot recently about balance, and especially the balance between writing and other stuff. In my situation, that "other stuff" is being a full-time honors student. As a result, I have very little time for writing...and it's really hard on my creative brain, especially since I'm very much in love with my current WIP. Do you have any advice regarding this plight? Is there any hope for my poor writerly brain? *pats brain*


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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  shootforthemoon on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:21 pm

Hi Editor Alison!

I've been looking for a remote summer internship in the publishing industry, but it's challenging to find ones open to high school students. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Renée on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:31 am

Hi, Allison! I actually remembered a question this time—on editing, no less! ^_^

As I pretty much just have experience critiquing my sister's MS (very informally), I was wondering: How do you usually word your edits in documents? How formal, in general, and what would be considered standard? On top of that, how would you go about wording a suggestion versus a strong suggestion, without spending too terribly long wording things in a negotiable way (i.e. I think this character might need to be cut)—or would you not worry about that and just give it to them (i.e. This character needs to be cut), and they take it or leave it? Does it all depend on personal editing style? Thanks! Smile
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:56 am

Hi Constance,

So, question #1 - No, I don't think you need to start writing with starting a short story and then moving up to a novel. Writing short stories draws on a different set of skills from novel writing in the same way that writing poetry draws on a different set of skills or writing an essay or writing a work of non-fiction. None of them is better than any of the others. They're just different.

I think some of the "advice" to start with short story writing stems from the fact that there is some overlap of skills - character development, plot, pacing - it's just in a much more confined space. And let's acknowledge the fact that writing a novel is hard and takes a lot of time. A short story is, well, shorter, so I think the idea is that if you can sustain your focus through something smaller, than you can work your way up to a bigger project. Of course, I clearly don't agree with that line of reasoning, but there you are.

On to question 2: Show-to-book adaptations, huh? In truth, I don't know that I have much of opinion. I think narratives come about in different ways. I also think different media are better for different types of storytelling. You need to be really skilled to pull off the cinematic crazy action explosion scene in a novel, for example.

Now, some movie-to-books are novelizations. To various degrees, they're meant to make the movie into a book form to read. Sometimes, movie and book are developed simultaneously. And sometimes it's the success of a book that makes the movie happen.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:05 am

Rachel,

Balancing writing with life can be so hard, especially as a full-time student. My best advice is that you just need to be disciplined. Set aside a period every week that's your writing time. Maybe it's an hour on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe it's after dinner on Wednesdays. But it's a period that's your writing time and you are going to try to stick to it. (And if you can't, it's okay. Try again the next time it comes around.)

I also think it's useful to just carry around a notebook to scribble in at times in between. Or, alternatively, maybe it's 10 pages of your WIP. Then when you have a few moments in between things, you can keep on writing or editing or whatever you need to do.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:12 am

Hi Shootforthemoon,

Publishing internships are always hard, and at publishing houses, getting a remote one is even harder, especially if you're in high school. For my house, that's because we really need the help of someone right here in our office. It's hard to teach a lot of the skills I'd want to teach without someone sitting next to me. It's such a hands-on thing, ya know.

But one thing you might try is seeing if an agency would be open to you doing remote reading for them. I know a lot of agents who use remote readers, and some of them might be open to high schoolers. It's a great way to get a taste of the publishing biz that might work for you.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:26 am

Hi Renée,

I'd say that it definitely comes down to personal editorial style.

I tend to do a lot of mark-up in a document, and I'm very conversational, interacting with the writer and the text. "Love this!" "Why would character X do this when he's been contemplating Z for the past eight chapters?" "Is this section feeling a bit bogged down? How might you liven this up to keep things moving?"

I believe in feedback being direct, but there's never an occasion to be unkind. And as an editor, I always keep in mind that ultimately, the decisions aren't my call. They rest with the author. And I acknowledge that, too, as I edit. "Is this okay?" "This is how I see this, but was that your intention?"

As I'm editing, I tend to keep a running bullet point list of larger concerns with examples noted as I come across them. This gives me a jumping off point when I step back to think about the big changes I think need to be made before the author delves into the nitpicky small ones. And this bullet point list usually becomes the skeleton for my editorial letter.

That's how I approach editing. But other editors do it different ways. You need to figure out what works for you and, actually, more importantly, what works for your author.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:34 pm

Something totally unrelated:

Next month marks 2 full years working with WriteOn Teens! Do we like the idea of a giveaway? Someone gets books? But I think you guys will have to earn them. Any ideas from you lovelies?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Renée on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:34 am

Thanks, Allison! I like your style! Razz Conversational is a good way to describe it, I think—that helps me nail down what I'm going for. ^_^ I just realized this will be the last Ask-the-Editor I can attend, as I'll be turning 20 this month, so I wanted to thank you for all the work that you do, taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions every month! Thanks so much! <3 Very Happy
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Re: Ask Editor Alison #26 (right in here!)

Post  Constance on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:52 am

Your answers are always so wonderful. Thank you! Very Happy

Ooh, that sounds fun. I'm afraid my brain is rather fried this evening, so I got nada on ideas, but I'd be game for almost anything.
Maybe you ask us something and whoever gives the best answer? I know not.
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