Saturday, July 21, 2018

On Editing

by Shane Joseph (writer), Cobourg and Toronto, December 14, 2011

Do we dumb down to sacrifice art for mass appeal?

A writer once went out into the fields of imagination and created an animal with a lion’s roar, a giraffe’s neck, a cheetah’s speed, and a horse’s gait; he gave it the vegan diet of an elephant, the conceit of a cat and the faithfulness of a dog. The animal, which the writer decided to call “Novel” due to its uniqueness, took on the colours of the rainbow as it danced in the light of a fading sun. Both writer and his creation played and frolicked until it was time to go home.

At home, he met his friends, fellow writers, who did not like the lion’s roar (too frightening) and the cheetah’s speed (too racy). The writer took them off Novel to please his friends. He met his editor, who was livid that a giraffe’s neck could go with a horse’s gait (inconsistent). The writer met his publisher, who said, “How can I sell this…this…thing?” More cuts were made to appease all aggrieved parties. Finally, the publisher was happy and petted the animal, saying, “Now you are understandable and non-threatening. Everyone will want to have a clone of you in their house. They will enjoy you on their lap in their armchair beside the fire on a winter’s evening. They might even let you live in their bookcase.”

As the publisher walked away figuring out how many clones he would make, the teary writer sat dejectedly with his animal, now reduced to a tiny dog, and said to it, “Who are you?”

About the Writer

Shane Joseph is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on On Editing

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By LaurenK on December 14, 2011 at 05:31 pm

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've planned out one novel and am conceptually developing another but in the back of my mind I think "if either did go to publication, what would be left of them??"

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By D. Sager on December 15, 2011 at 09:14 am

I've determined to be true to my instinct as a writer. I listen to advice, but in the end will put out what I believe my heart has spoken. I will pass away one day and the writings I leave for the world will be ME and not a revision of ME. Great encouragement brother!

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By Shane Joseph on December 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

Thanks for your comments. The level of editing of a work is in inverse proportion to the stature of the writer. The Harry Potter books growing in size as the series progressed is a good indication. So get famous fast and you will not have to worry about editors!


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