Skip to main content

Why do I have to revise according to an editor's suggestions? My work is written exactly how I want it. How do I know an editor's criticism is valid?

Beginning Writer's Answer Bookedited by Jane Friedman

Writers who are new to the business sometimes consider an editor’s requests for revision a personal affront, when in reality the editor is only trying to get the best possible manuscript for her market. Editors know what works for their audience, and have the experience and expertise necessary to objectively criticize work. If you don’t want to revise your manuscript to the editor’s style or suggestions—and you could be right—you can always withdraw the work, if it comes to that. But there’s a good chance you will never get your work published if you don’t learn to take constructive criticism from editors.

Image placeholder title

Authors who have been in the game a long time and have published dozens of books are typically the most open to revision suggestions. Some beginners find this fact paradoxical, but it isn’t once you consider that seasoned authors have attained a level of professionalism and experience that’s taught them to respect the editor’s eye.

Both magazine and book editors are eager to help you achieve your best efforts. If there are occasional misunderstandings along the way, the writer should not overlook the editor’s essential goodwill toward her work.

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover Reveal

Writer's Digest is excited to announce our Sept/Oct 2022 issue featuring our Annual Literary Agent Roundup, an interview with NYT-bestselling YA horror novelist Tiffany D. Jackson, and articles about writing sinister stories.

Your Story #120

Your Story #120

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

5 Tips for Writing as a Parent

5 Tips for Writing as a Parent

Author Sarah Grunder Ruiz shares how she fits writing into her life and offers 5 tips on how to achieve a sustainable writing life as a parent.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 621

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an animal poem.

Why Is This Love Scene Here? How To Write Compelling Love Scenes

Why Is This Love Scene Here? How To Write Compelling Love Scenes

Not sure which way to turn when writing intimate scenes? Author Jo McNally shares how to write compelling love scenes that make sense for the story you’re writing.

How Can I Help You?

How Can I Help You?

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, your character is a high-end retail salesperson.

Phong Nguyen: On Freedom To Invent in Historical Fiction

Phong Nguyen: On Freedom To Invent in Historical Fiction

Award-winning author Phong Nguyen discusses his lifelong dream of writing his new historical fiction novel, Bronze Drum.

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

What happens to historical fiction when history repeats itself? Author Addison Armstrong discusses writing about the past and seeing it reflected in the present.

From Script

Art and Independence (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” television writer Vanessa Benton, Allegoria writer-director Spider One, Hulu’s Prey screenwriter Patrick Aison and director Dan Trachtenberg, and more!