Today’s Booking through Thursday meme encourages book bloggers to think about what book(s) they would want to change and how if they wielded the editor’s pen. I can certainly understand the various people who felt that they couldn’t answer that, that by suggesting changes to a book they’d be turning it into a different book. However, I have a different take on that.
First, a good editor knows how to suggest changes that work with the author’s style and voice. Even the best writer needs a good editor, because a writer is generally too close to his or her work to see the holes and problems. Having someone make suggestions for changes doesn’t somehow rip it out of the author’s control; a good author will weigh others’ suggestions and opinions and decide what will work best for his project.
Second, the kind of strong imagination it takes to come up with alternate versions of an existing story is the same kind of strong imagination it takes to create your own stories. If you’re too busy telling yourself that your opinion of what could be changed in a piece of writing isn’t worth anything, then you’ll never learn how to write good material of your own.
So today, do the BTT meme. Pick a book in your chosen field of writing that you weren’t entirely happy with, and detail as precisely as possible how you would change it. Try to make those ideas suit the style, voice, and structure of the existing piece of writing as much as possible.