So remember the freelance article I’m doing on the changes to employment services in BC? Hmmm. I’m most definitely less gung ho on the editor there now. In the latest edits, she has changed things so dramatically that was has happened basically is that I provided the story idea, I did the research and she did most of the writing. It is in first person too so it sounds like these are all my words. I know how editing works and that things must be torn apart and put back together and all sorts and that is what we were doing – she had some great and necessary advice and I followed.
Because the issue I’m writing about is so complex and tricky to understand, it had to be super super clear. My drafts weren’t and I realize that – lots of repetition, still some confusion and etc. I get that. I expect and want to be told how to work with it.
I don’t expect to have most of my phrasing, words and ideas changed to hers. I didn’t want a huge anti-government slant (or pro gov’t) but that’s what it is. She’s a good writer so it all sounds good but it is not mine. I told her she had some great sentences in there, that her writing is great but that it’s not my writing, not the story I wanted to tell. I want my concerns about what the government is doing in there but what I don’t want is it all written in such a way that it so blatantly points in that direction. Sigh.
I think she simply found my writing too sloppy, too repetitive and not comprehensible to a reader who knows nothing about the system in BC. Fair enough. And I think we ran out of time so she jumped in and re-wrote it herself.
What remains of me in the piece – and I’m still trying to negotiate – is not much at all. Yet it will have my name on it. I’ve asked her to add her name to it as well – since it’s more her piece than mine now. I don’t say that bitterly – it’s just the reality.
Our loving relationship of almost instant turnaround e-mails seems to have disappeared. She gave me the new draft on Friday morning (three days late) and said she needs all the changes by Monday. Interesting, since it involves calling folks who don’t work on the weekends. I told her I’d do what I could. I told her I didn’t like that it is all her words and made several suggestions. I told her I don’t like the slant. She’s not so receptive anymore.
Uh well, I’ll do what she wants, get a meagre cheque for it and my name on a story. But the thing is, I’m not so excited for anyone to even see that story anymore. Might not even show it to anyone.
Yeah, writers are oversensitive about their work, of course. But the thing was, I wasn’t here, I was thrilled to have edits, thrilled to have direction. But to use a poor analogy, I’m not thrilled to have her kick me out of the drivers’ seat and actually out of the car all together.
Live and learn, people. Live and learn.