I Love My Editors – Part 2

I’m not much of a short story writer, which is why my second editorial relationship is quite different from my first.  It’s also why, when Scott H. Andrews of the great new magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies said he was interested in my story if I did X, Y, and Z, I immediately went out and did what he asked. 

First off, he wanted me to cut.  Cut the first scene nearly completely, trim back the others.  My novels are on the long side (not doorstop fantasies, but almost), and the story reflected that fact.  I hadn’t written a short story in years, so my habits had grown expansive rather than reductive, which is what you need for short stories.  But I can cut when I have to, so the cleaver came out, and the story lost a third of its length. 

Then he wanted me to fix a small problem with what the POV character knows at the beginning but the reader doesn’t.  Holding the information back was a bit cheesy, but that hadn’t been a problem originally because the information was contained in the first line of the story.  However, that scene was gone now, so I had to come up with an entirely new way of doing it that wasn’t such a cheat. 

Then it was back and forth on small things for several emails.  By the end of the process, Scott and I had communicated three or four times as often as I ever communicate with my book editor on edits.  Which is kind of funny, when you realize that my novels are about twelve times as long as the story. 

On the next one, I’m hoping I don’t take up anywhere near as much of Scott’s time.  In the meantime, take a look at Beneath Ceaseless Skies (www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com).  The first issue just came out.

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  1. 1. K.C. Shaw

    Scott’s an amazing editor–he had me rewrite the entire second half of a story for him, and nailed all the reasons why I needed to make the changes he asked for. The result is a much stronger story than I’d have been able to write without his input.

    I can’t wait to read your story in BCS!

  2. 2. S.C. Butler

    K.C. – Sounds like our experiences with the Master were similar. When is your story hitting the pixels?

  3. 3. K.C. Shaw

    It should hit around the first of the new year, last I heard.

  4. 4. S.C. Butler

    K.C. – I look forward to reading it. Mine won’t be till April, trying to tie it in with the release of the last book in the series.

  5. 5. cindy

    is it bad that i’m relieved experienced,
    published writers still go through the
    revising hoops? there’s nothing like an
    excellent editor to push you to the next
    level(s).

  6. 6. S.C. Butler

    Cindy – It’s not bad at all that you’re relieved. Editors are a good thing. And everyone has to revise – if they don’t, it shows.

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S.C. Butler

Butler is the author of The Stoneways Trilogy from Tor Books: Reiffen's Choice, Queen Ferris, and The Magician's Daughter. Find out what Reiffen does with magic, and what magic does with him... Visit site.

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