Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Original vs. Edit


In lieu of an analysis of my own story, I thought people might like to see what type of edits they did on it. Anything added by the editors is in blue.

One thing they added that I liked was the part that he'd heard she broke up with her boyfriend. That signaled the all clear for Zach to make his move and I hadn't put that in myself. (Although on second thought, if she just broke up with her boyfriend, that sort of makes Zach the rebound guy, but hopefully people will believe that they're right for each other anyway.) I liked the phrase "wake-up call" too. I do wish they'd left "sunflower smile," instead of "sunny smile." I think sunflowers are cheerful and bright, and "sunny" is a teensy bit cliche. Other than that, I think that they tightened it up nicely.

To tell the truth, I hadn't even noticed most of these edits were here. When I read the published version, I thought to myself, they made about five changes. Obviously there were a lot more than that, so that either shows that Johnene knows her stuff and her edits are smooth and undetectable, or I'm a complete dweeb who doesn't know her own story. LOL Maybe some of both. 


The Perfect Storm
from the April 16, 2012 issue
by Kate Willoughby

When Zach knocked on Jane’s door that evening, she seemed both surprised and elated to see him.
            “Zach! Come in out of the rain,” she said. “What are you doing here?”
Predictably, Zach’s heart started beating faster, as like it always did when he saw Jane. It had been that way ever since Jane had approached him outside their first grade classroom. and She'd said, “Hi! I’m Jane. Wanna be friends?” and he'd fallen for her bubbly personality and sunny smile. From that day on, he’d been in love with her cheerful demeanor and sunflower smile—even if it had been missing two front teeth at the time. 
He fell in love with the rest of her sometime in junior high, even knowing there was no way she would ever see Unfortunately, he knew she’d never even consider him as boyfriend material. Not a geeky brainiac science nerd like him. 
But Zach’s brother just got engaged and it was like a wake-up call: Zach realized Jane would never be his if he didn’t try to do something about it. Besides, he'd heard that she'd broken up with her boyfriend.
“I thought you might like some company, what with the storm and all,.He he said, gesturing at the rain. smiled even though he was soaked to the skin. The wind was blowing something fierce.
“Oh, my gosh. I'd forgotten all about that!”
Years ago they’d confessed their most embarrassing deepest fears to each other. Jane was afraid of thunderstorms. Zach hated spiders and thunderstorms terrified Jane. As a result, she’d appointed Throughout their childhood Jane called herself his personal Zach's “Sspider Nninja” while he’d become her “Sstorm Bbuddy.,His job description had included showing up with hot chocolate and a video whenever the weather got particularly nasty.
She shut the door on the weather. “You know, I finally did grow out of that, Zach, but I’m glad you’re here.” She gestured to  looked at the bag tucked under his arm. “What movie did you bring?”
Before he could answer, the power went out. Zach cursed his luck as they hunted for candles, but by the time they’d settled down together on the couch, he’d decided the warm glow they created was decidedly romantic.
“So, what movie do you want to watch?” he asked.
What do you mean? We can’t watch a movie. The power’s out.”
     “Oh, yeah? ye of little faith,he said as he  He whipped out his cellphone. “The screen's may only be four inches wide, but it does play movies.”
“You’re a genius,” she declared, leaning in close to look. She grinned as they scrolled through the selection. When he suggested a romantic comedy, Jane looked at him, surprised.
“Seriously? I really wanted to see this when it was in the theatre theaters,” she said, “but my ex wouldn’t even think about it wasn't interested. We always saw what he wanted to see.”
Zach frowned. “Always?”
“Pretty much.” After a pause, she poked him. “Hey, what was that you were thinking just now? You had a strange look on your face.”
“Who me?”
“No, the President of the United States,” she said with a laugh joked. “Of course Yes, you.”
Realizing this was his moment of truth, Zach took a deep breath.
“I was just thinking that your ex must have been pretty dense crazy.” He gulped. “I mean, to have had a girl like you and, you know, not done everything in his power to keep you  make her happy.”
     Jane went quiet. She gently took his cellphone and set it aside. “You mean like remembering to keep me company during a thunderstorm? defend me from little boys who want to squirt glue in my hair? Or bring me hot chocolate and a movie when the power goes out? Or,” she said, laying her hand over his, “make making me feel like I’m the most important person in the world whenever he’s with me?”
      His eyes widened in surprise. Before he Zach could quite take in Jane's words completely process what Jane had just said, she leaned in toward him and gave him a soft kiss on the lips. Outside, the wind howled. The rain beat against the windows. Lightning flashed. Thunder rumbled. But Zach was oblivious to everything but her.
He blinked.Jane, what What was that?”
     “That, Einstein, was a kiss.” She laughed. “Sheesh Jeez, for the high school valedictorian, you’re not as smart as I thought you were.”
     “Maybe I need a tutor,” he said with a shy grin, brushing a stray lock of hair off her face. “Do you know anyone who might be able to help me?”
      With the that sparkling smile that made his heart sing, Jane put her arms around his neck and said, “You know, I just might happen to know the perfect person.”
            

29 comments:

Marcy said...

Thanks for posting this, Kate. Its interesting to see what changes they made. Great story!

majbooks said...

Yes, thanks from me, too. Interesting to see the edits. I thought your story was very cute and I think they did a good job with the edits. The story still flowed and the edits worked.

Pat said...

Thanks, Kate. I loved your story and seeing the edits shows how Johnene sees the story differently and in this case better. I loved some of the changes she made. Thanks again for posting this. What a learning experience!

Diane Fordham said...

Thanks for that Kate. It really was interesting to see what changes they felt needed to be made. Yeah, I too, like your 'sunflower smile'. Congrats on the story. :-)

Megan Kelly said...

Thank you, Kate. It's interesting to see how the tone shifts subtly (altho I too liked sunflower smile).

Kate Willoughby said...

You're welcome, everyone. It was eye opening to me, too.

Kate Willoughby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Jo said...

Kate, after all the work you have done over the past few years, analyzing the Woman's World "voice", you are totally familiar with the tone they want to print. There are a few of your personal expressions that Johnene saw fit to change, but on the whole, I think she just fine-tuned your story. Even with all the "blue editing", she did not make any essential changes in what you wrote. That is surely why you didn't see any major changes on first read. As I said before, you have the WW romance "nailed".

As for the ex-boyfriend, if I had to use him at all, I would have put him way back in the distant past. Zach didn't need a foot in the door to make his stand.

Kate Willoughby said...

Thanks, Mary Jo.

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

I loved your story, Kate. Many thanks for posting the story as written and then the edits by WW. It's been a learning experience for me, too, as I work on another story to submit.
Pat

Kate Willoughby said...

You're welcome, Pat! Good luck with your stories!!

Kate Willoughby said...

You're welcome, Pat! Good luck with your stories!!

Cerri Ellis said...

Another thanks for posting this so we can see the edits they made. What I loved about your story was the male pov. I haven't read many of those. Is that something new to WW or rare? Or maybe I seem to only grab the issues with female pov. Regardless, the story shined and put a big old sunflower smile on my face. Congrats.

Kate Willoughby said...

Cerri, thanks. True, the woman's POV is the norm, but here and there you'll find male POVs. I want to say somewhere around 20%, but that's just a guess. Maybe someone else can chime in on this, too.

Mary Jo said...

Kate, I wrote two male POV stories for WW and I don't think either one of them made it off Patricia's desk. Too bad. I thought they were really cute stories. Maybe they were too male? I guess anything that is a little different from the usual WW "voice" doesn't stand a chance. I know, you have been preaching that for years. Their stories could be so much more interesting, though, if they would just broaden their scope a bit.

Kate Willoughby said...

Ah, Mary Jo, is this the author of the TATTOO story talking? A tattoo is SO not your typical Woman's World fare, and yet you got that published. It's always worth trying something out of the ordinary. You just never know.

Mary Jo said...

I just wish the editors would come to the table and recognize that anyone with a TV, a computer, a smart phone, has full access to world happenings. That is, no matter where they live or what their education and income levels. Do I have to go back to the days when I went with my Grandma to walk the cow (no kidding)before she put her back in the shed for the night? Well, I think American women are smart and so is the best kind of man.

majbooks said...

I've had them buy 2 of my stories that were told from the man's point of view, so I think they are open to that for sure. However, it is a "woman's magazine" so they probably limit how many they'll put in.

Most of the mysteries, though not all, it seems, are from the male point of view, don't you think? Or maybe more than half, anyway.

I agree with Kate, that your story about the tattoo Mary Jo, was really something different and unexpected for WW. Maybe they are starting a new trend, and you've started it with that story.

I know that I've tried some "different" stories, too, but most of the time, those have been rejected. But you never know what the future will bring.
--Mary Ann

Betsi said...

My first WW sale was a male POV story -- I'd say that between 10 and 20% are male, but agree with Mary Ann that this is a "woman's magazine" and that proportion isn't likely to change. I think they're open to new things when they work -- like the tattoo, and the time the story was told by a car! The WW style is light reading, and since it's working for them, why would they change?
Mary Ann, I think the mysteries are usually told from an omniscient POV, not in a particular character's "head." Maybe slightly more of the police/detectives are men.

Mary Jo said...

The WW romance stories from the male POV are women's stories, though. Definitely not something you would find in a man's magazine. I think I will give it a shot once more and see what I can come up with. Wish I could write the mysteries, but my brain just doesn't work that way. In real life, almost all detectives are male, so that must account for him in the WW mysteries. The Detective isn't always the lead character, is he?

Betsi, IS the WW "style" working for them? After all, the "romance" has absolutely shriveled up over the years. They began with 4000 words and are now down to 800 (or actually more like 600). We are getting down to flash-fiction here.

Betsi said...

Mary Jo, I've only sold one mystery, so I'm no expert. I think if you read what they publish, you'll see there's a definite formula. I wouldn't say they have a "main" character. The detective(s) may be official or not, and there are (usually) a few suspects. It's all about the hidden clue - it can't be too obvious or too obscure. It's hard to get it right!

I'm a bit confused about your issue with the male POV stories. When I write from the hero's POV in my romance novels, I know I'm writing for women and it's a "fantasy." It's all about the demographic of your audience. For WW, that's women - it's in the title!

As for whether or not the romance is "working," the WW accountants know that, not me! I just believe in working with what IS, instead of the way I might wish it WAS.

Pat said...

The mini mysteries are usually written in the lead character's POV, but never in deep POV like romance. Does that help you all any?

Karen said...

This was interesting to read. I write stories for UK women's magazines and I've never known them be edited like this, apart from to change the title or occasionally a name!

Tamara said...

That makes me want to discover the UK markets.

Kate Willoughby said...

I'm so insecure that I LIKE knowing an editor is going to take his or her red pen to my work. I almost always agree with their changes.

Kate Willoughby said...

I'm so insecure that I LIKE knowing an editor is going to take his or her red pen to my work. I almost always agree with their changes.

Tamara said...

I don't expect them to never make changes, but I have had so many errors put into my writing--which I always put great effort into--that I am less than gracious about the subject. (Not just speaking of WW here.)

Shelli said...

This is interesting, and I'm glad that you approved of the edits. When I sold my story, it was so unrecognizable that I thought I had accidentally sent in a rough draft instead of the finished copy!

I had anticipated edits...but it was rather drastic.

Still, I was grateful that they wanted it.

Kate Willoughby said...

When you sign the contract, you're agreeing to whatever edits they choose to do before they do them. :)