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Is there a way of saying this without sounding like an unprofessional whinyarse?

(11 Posts)
solidgoldbrass Mon 05-Sep-11 23:19:57

I've just had the 'final edit' on a piece commissioned by a magazine and I'm not thrilled. What I really want to say is 'Why don't you just write the bloody articles yourself in the first place?' but that would be very childish and I do actually like the editor, I just loathe having my work edited to the point of being pretty much unrecognizable as mine. I have been writing articles (and getting paid for doing so) for more than 20 years, for dozens of different editors and titles and no one else mucks about with my stuff like this.

Poledra Mon 05-Sep-11 23:30:10

Something along the lines of 'It appears that my style no longer fits with that of the magazine. There's so much edting on the pieces, and it takes up a great deal of yours and my time. Could we have a discussion about what exactly your vision is for the publication, and how my work is out of step with that vision?'

I'm making it up as I go along, and DH is watching some crappy film on the TV which is killing off my brain cells just transmitting in the same room as me so I apologise if that's crap - maybe it'll help getting started on what you really want to say grin

Himalaya Mon 05-Sep-11 23:31:08

Did they not brief you well enough in the commissioning on what they wanted, or was it more a question of stylistic editing?

ChippingIn Mon 05-Sep-11 23:32:55

'Gee is that my article - I barely recognise it hmm'

'WTF have you done to my article hmm'

'So glad I bothered - how many words of mine did you actually use? hmm'

No - I don't think there is - if you need the money keep schtum, if you don't ask wtf they're playing at!

solidgoldbrass Tue 06-Sep-11 00:16:47

This is the third article I have written for this particular magazine - the first one was a 'short' and it was completely stuffed but I kind of let it go, the second one was edited to crap and I did have a word with her after publication (she sent me a 'final edit' which I wasn't that struck on, but the actual published version was different again and awful...), and this one, well it's about half what I wrote and half a whole lot of extra material on the subject that she's got by googling, and the stuff that is mine has been sort of blanded out.
I think I will just not write for that mag any more. I think it's a case of an editor with a strong individual style, really. And it's not about the money as this is a tiny, independent publication that I admire - but who do not have the money to pay contributors anyway.

ChippingIn Tue 06-Sep-11 00:27:25

Well, in that case I think you are right, it's probably best not to do anything else for them. You don't want your name on things you aren't happy with and you aren't even getting paid for it - so I'd stick to other publications if I was you - and if it was me, I'd get my name taken off of this one before it goes to print.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Sep-11 11:22:51

ask to confirm the copyright arrangement
in that if you are still the owner you'd like them to buy the copyright as they so emasculated it (love that word - so many people have to look it up!)

LivingEdwardMunchPainting Tue 06-Sep-11 14:38:08

Yes this happens to me occasionally (translation not writing but the principle is basically the same). I call it red-pen syndrome and I am ruthless with sufferers. I find that every time I stand my ground and argue my case then they back down and don't try it again. When I feel that the piece has been over-edited and am 100% sure that I haven't made any mistakes I will challenge every change that I don't agree with and where possible show - in a nonconfrontational but assertive way (while seething inwardly smile) - that their phrasing, use of English or whatever is inferior to mine, using sentences like "I don't see how XXX improves the piece, perhaps XXX would be better". It has worked in 99% of cases.

In this case if you have a good relationship with the editor a phone call might be more appropriate, just ask the question you raised in your OP in a slightly less confrontational way? Depending on her reply you will know whether or not to carry on working for her.

LuckyC Wed 14-Sep-11 13:08:35

Agree! It's random compulsive need to edit (I suffer from this so understand it...) Edit her back - take her through her changes point by point offering supporting evidence for your own writing.

FlappyBaps Tue 04-Oct-11 12:36:51

SGB - sorry to hijack the thread but I was curious to know how you got into freelance writing initially? I'm a lawyer with a degree in English Lit but am DESPERATE to find a way out!

Laugs Tue 04-Oct-11 12:47:15

I think you should stop pitching them. If they come back to you with a proposal, then you can explain that you find it difficult as your work is edited so much.

It's a mag that you admire so much that you'll work for free. I suppose you have to either put up with their v. distinctive style (is this what you like about them in other features?) or stop working for them.

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