Writer-Editor Relationships

May 23rd, 2024 in Writing by April Michelle Davis 0

It’s not uncommon for there to be tension between the editor and the writer as they work together on a project. The writer may feel that the editor is insensitive while the editor may feel that the writer is overly sensitive and unreasonably defensive during their interactions. If a writer wishes to grow and improve in the industry, it’s important that the writer learn to accept criticism and know what to do with it.

Here are a few tips that may help writers deal with criticism, even if they don’t always agree with the editor:

    • Be willing to share control.

The writer-editor relationship should be a two-way conversation. Remember that both parties have something to bring to the table. If one party refuses to open up, the consultation is no longer an enjoyable learning process. The writer should keep in mind that self-editing is extremely difficult and that there is always room for improvement. The editor is there to help.

    • Form a personal, supportive relationship.

Honest appraisals of an editor’s work can help to open up a conversation and strengthen a relationship. Establishing relationships with supportive editors is important and much easier to do if the writer is also supportive. The more you talk with the editor about what you find helpful, the more the editor will consult with you about things you need or want help with. A strong writer-editor relationship should be a personal one where both people can feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of each other.

  • Choose your arguments.

If you spend all your time arguing over minute details like commas, the editor may be turned off and become unwilling to converse with you. Try to decide which changes you can live with. Perhaps the editor has suggested that you change when a character is introduced in your story. When you have determined which changes you can’t live with, avoid turning the discussion into a battle. Rather than simply refusing the editor’s changes, ask questions about why the editor made the changes.

    • Put yourself in the editor’s shoes.

Practice editing another person’s work.  Putting yourself in the position of an editor may help you to understand how the editor thinks and help open the lines of communication to a higher level of appreciation for the editor’s criticism.