What Might Happen If I Let Someone Edit My Novel?

Yoda and Nietzsche

Yoda’s explaining the Force to Nietzsche.

These are two of my favorite philosophers.


I could be quite wrong, but I suspect an editor’s job is to reshape a manuscript, so it becomes more marketable. It needs to appeal to as many readers as possible. The bottom line in the book industry is making money, and that’s fair. What else should a business’s bottom line be?

Quality aside for now, the most obvious problem with my novel is that it is 245,432 words long. The representative of one of the publishing houses, when he heard that, immediately said it needed to be cut in half. Maybe made into two books. And I’m sure he’s right. He knows the market. I don’t.

And I did admit in my second post that a novel that is almost seven hundred pages long, by an unknown writer, might not appeal to very many readers.

But here’s my concern. If some parts of my novel are, indeed, gifts to me from my unconscious mind, from a part of me that I’m learning to trust more and more, and if an editor’s conscious mind reshapes everything, what happens to those gifts?

What if my novel has some kind of underlying coherence? Is that coherence lost?

And if an editor does reshape my novel to match the 2017 market, what happens in 2018? Or 2019?

Over the years, many authors have insisted their novels be published as is. The market, of course, was kind to some of them, but not kind to others.

Many other authors have allowed all sorts of editing. And likewise, the market was kind to some of them, but not kind to others.

Right now, I’m thinking of the word crapshoot. I could be damned if I do, and damned if I do. (That’s not a typo.)

But this is all about outcomes, isn’t it? Outcomes that often seem whimsical and capricious. And I am not responsible for outcomes as I said earlier. Remember? I’m only responsible to be in my room totally focused on my writing, distraction free, for three to four hours every day of the year except Tuesdays.

I’m only responsible to create possibilities.

So, hire an editor? Or not? Those are, indeed, the big, big questions. And at this point I think I’m going to go with Horatio, “If your mind dislike anything, obey it.”

And my mind, at this point, dislikes what might happen if I let someone edit the gifts, which I believe have come to me from my unconscious.

Maybe, for now, I’ll just trust my unconscious. Yoda trusted The Force. Aristotle trusted the Divine Within. B.K.S Iyengar trusted pranayama. And look at how their unwavering trust paid off for them.

Bottom line: If unwavering trust worked for three of my heroes (I have a lot of heroes), maybe it’ll also work for me. It has in the past, so why not now?


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