Monday, May 11, 2015

Confessions from the Editing Cave with Constance Phillips

Welcome back to yet another installment of Confessions from the Editing Cave. Today in the confessional -- adult romance author, Constance Phillips!

1. Tell us a bit about your background working with editor(s). Did you hire a freelance editor? Work with an editor at a publishing house? Work with an agent in the capacity of an editor? All of the above or some other combination?
I have both hired a freelance editor and worked with editors at publishing houses. 

2. What was your overall relationship with your editor? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
I honestly believe I become a better writer because of each experience I’ve had with an editor. Does that mean I always agree 100% with every piece of advice offered? Of course not! But, learning to take that advice, consider it, and decide if I agree and if it’s a change I want to make is invaluable. So, I’ve not only become a stronger writer, but I’ve learned to assess myself and pick which battles are worth the fight.

3. What was the best edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
The best edit actually came out of a pretty big rewrite. My editor had a pretty bad aversion to my heroine’s attitude—to the point of commenting on a scene where she was arguing with her brother, “See, even her brother hates her.” We exchanged several emails batting ideas back and forth how to soften her edges, while keeping her strong and her convictions deep. When I turned in the rewrite, my editor emailed me after reading the first chapter to say that I hit the nail on the head. It felt good to be able to take that constructive criticism, brainstorm a bit, and be able to fix the problem.

4. What was the worst edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
I don’t know that I’ve received a “worse edit”, but I did get some advice from the freelance editor I hired to change a pretty big plot point in my book Resurrecting Harry (this was pre-purchase/publication).  I was very conflicted about the advice offered and thought on in for several weeks. I could see the editor’s point, but also believed it changed the basic heart of the story. Before I even started rewriting, I had the opportunity to pitch the book to a different editor. He was interested to see the story and I told him I wanted to work on some edits I received from a freelance editor. He asked for details and when I gave them to him, he encouraged me to keep the story the way I envisioned it. While, the book didn’t end up with that editor, it was purchased and published without the change.

I learned a lot from that experience about trusting my gut, and knowing the core story I’m trying to tell. It was also brought home the point that no two editors—like no two readers—are alike. Advice isn’t always good or bad, but subjective. 

5. What was your first, initial, gut-reaction to your edits?
I might be the odd duck here, but I always look forward to my edits. I see it as the nitty-gritty time to take my story to a higher, polished level. That doesn’t mean I haven’t received edits that bruised my ego, or made me initially defensive, but when that happens I remember to take a deep breath, close the file, and walk away. With some time to digest, I can come back with a clear head and either figure out how to make things better, or defend the hows and whys I did it the way I did. 


Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, daughter, and four canine kids where she writes contemporary romance novels and paranormal romance novels.
When not writing stories of finding and rediscovering love, Constance and her husband spend the hours planning a cross-country motorcycle trip for the not-so-distant future…if they can find a sidecar big enough for the pups.

Be sure to connect with Constance on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Goodreads