I’m an easy going sort of person, or, at least, I like to think I am. I’m pretty hardworking, and not very fussy, and one of the jobs I most enjoy is editing for the husband. I have an opinion about the work. He listens, and as often as not, he adopts my suggestions; he certainly always takes them seriously and gives them due consideration.
No one has ever done this for me. “Naming Names” and the other novels that I’ve written have not been through an editing process. I’ve written a number of short stories, over the years, most of which I’ve been invited to write, and other than the odd nip or tuck, they’ve always passed muster without any major criticisms. This isn’t very usual.
In a previous blog, I talked about the novel belonging to the reader. Once the work is in the public domain, it no longer belongs to the writer; his or her job is over and the work must speak for itself.
I’m beginning to wonder, though, at what point that process begins. My work has universally gone out into the World without being pulled apart by an agent or an editor, but I’m not sure whether to be grateful for that, surprised by it, or relieved.
What if I secure an agent, only to find that said agent wants me to substantially rewrite my book? I like to think that I’m open to suggestions, I’ve got a few ideas of my own about how “Naming Names”, for instance, might be improved, but they are my ideas, and not someone else’s, and nor is anyone strong-arming me into making changes; I’m free to make changes or not, as I see fit.
My argument has been that the audience must be considered first, and, surely, it’s an agent’s job to know what an audience is likely to want to read, or, at the very least, what the next audience - the publisher - is going to want to invest in. Isn’t that the job of any good agent? Let’s not forget that writers are seldom published without agents, and agents need to earn a living, just like the rest of us.
I’m looking forward to landing an agent, I’m looking forward to having a good and lasting relationship with someone who not only ‘gets’ the work, but also sees ways to improve it, including making it pay. I don’t see any reason to be concerned for my integrity in all of this, and, if I did, I’d stick to writing for fun and forget about being published all together.