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Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Author Insight: The Non-negotiables

Is there one thing in your writing/novels you aren't willing to bend on? Have you had to defend an instance of it in the past? If so, at what cost?

"I’ve never been asked to change anything I didn’t agree with, but there are things I wouldn’t bend on, like changing the race or sexual orientation of a character to fit a mold." - Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light.

"Nothing huge. My editor is very wise, so I almost always agree with her. I used to use 'passage' all the time, instead of hallway, which may have annoyed her; she definitely crossed it out a lot. There are still a lot of “passages” in the book, though." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar.

"I haven’t encountered this yet, for which I’m grateful. I’m not sure what my threshold would be." - Robin Bridges, author of The Unfailing Light.

"The thing I never want to bend on is my character’s voice. The voice comes early and evolves as the story is written, and during revisions, I find myself not making changes that I feel would change the voice of the character. I don’t mind working through editorial changes, but if they strongly go against what I think the character would do, I don’t make them." - P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

"Strong female characters. Fortunately, my editors agree, so I have never had to fight too hard." - Lara Avery, author of Anything But Ordinary.

"Blood. I need blood. Lots of it. Sometimes schools refuse to have me, because they fear that the book will be challenged or banned. I feel sorry for the kids in those schools. Their parents are precluding experiences that will enrich them. Yes, blood can be very enriching." - Adam Gidwitz, author of In a Glass Grimmly.

"I’m sure there are fundamental issues that I would never bend on, issues that would vary from story to story, but luckily for me I have an editor that shares my vision, and so have never even been required to think about the question!" - Sharon Cameron, author of The Dark Unwinding.

"I like an intrusive narrator, and this is often a big 'no no' with editors. I’ve had to defend this on a few occasions, with the end result being I reduced the instances. It was compromise, but it didn’t hurt the book and it made my editor happy. Big lesson – it’s so much easier to work with a happy editor!" - Suzanne Selfors, author of The Sweetest Spell.

"I would never agree to de-gay a story. I would also never agree to obscure a female character's basic biological nature, for instance by erasing references to her period. That might sound unusual, but I know several writers who have been asked to do that. I don't understand why a menstrual cycle is still so controversial! Any editor who would require me to do those things would not be an editor I want to work with." - Malinda Lo, author of Adaptation

"I can honestly say that I’m very open-minded when it comes to changes. So, far there’s always been a compromise that I could be happy with when it came to story changes. Maybe it won’t always be this way, but so far it has been." - Julie Cross, author of Tempest.

"I am a very flexible person. That said, I do not like the dumbing down of anything and I dislike strict definitions. One definition I hear about YA fiction is 'teens only want to read about teens' but I believe adults in YA fiction are important. So when I was told by several bidders during our search for a publisher for Please Ignore Vera Dietz that I would have to take the father’s parts out (along with his flow charts) I disregarded the editors who suggested such things and chose from the ones who didn’t have tunnel vision on that issue. There was no cost to me for this decision. In fact, I think the effect was quite the opposite." - A.S. King, author of Ask the Passengers.

Stop by Tuesday to learn what makes the authors pick up a book or put one down. 

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