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Approach to Magazine Revision Requests

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If a magazine editor requests revisions to a story, and suggests changes, how literally do you take those changes? For example, what if an editor says, "There would be more payoff if the main character got something she really wanted, such as a kitten," and you as the writer see how the kitten makes sense in the story. Is the editor wanting you to take his or her advice literally, or is s/he hoping you'll come up with something on your own? I'm struggling with this -- if I disagreed with the editor or saw a better solution, I'd go with my instinct. Thanks for any input you have on how closely to follow an editor's suggestions. This is specifically in regards to a magazine article but I'd love to hear general feedback on this issue, too.
#1 - May 13, 2011, 05:47 PM

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In the example you cite, the editor is trying to raise the stakes. So if you agree and happen to like kittens, why not use the example she suggests, esp. if it works in the story? If it makes more sense to get an owlet, use that. Whatever works for the story best. If you need clarification, call the editor and ask.

Usually, my editor and I work closely together during the revision/edit stage (if any is required -- most of the time my work is edited to be consistent with the house-style). But I if submit a proposal and we're bouncing around ideas, it's different. And as always, not all ideas (even if they come from the editor) might not be the best, might not suit your vision of the story. So always ask why you are writing the story the way you are.

Ex. Once, I submitted a biography and a couple of weeks later the editor called and wondered if it wouldn't be more exciting if I fictionalized it. We tossed a couple of ideas back and forth and I considered it, but the true story is so much better, so was able to argue the case for it.

Good luck and don't hesitate to call your editor to make sure you're both on the same page.
#2 - May 13, 2011, 10:13 PM
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