Today I welcome Bill Kieffer to the blog to talk about his author experiences with editing.
I’m a strange gray haired bisexual from New Jersey and my motto is “Blurring the Line between Gifted and Twisted…” Being odd is obviously a badge of honor with me and it reflects in my writing. I was actually pursuing a writing career in comics years ago when I had an idea that my wife didn’t think would fly… a serious version of a funny animal comic book. I investigated the market, discovered Furry Fandom and, ummm, I’ve been drawn into it more or less fully.
It allows me to represent so many things and thoughts in a allegorical way, combining the best parts of fantasy and science fiction (and sometimes horror).
I am a poor judge of my own work. I submit to publishers as I think they are better judges. Plus, they get to more conventions than I do.
2) What do you enjoy most about the editing process?
Artistic decisions. Playing with the craft of a story. My best experience was with Ocean Tigrox who, along with the editing team on Inhuman Acts, helped me craft my second professional story after a decades long drought. There was fact checking and opinions and a whole lot of cutting, which I enjoyed.
3) What do you find hardest about the editing process?
When an editor tells me that very little editing needs to be done, I worry. It must be the attention whore in me, or maybe it’s more like the imposter syndrome a lot of writers go through, but either way, a “good the way it is” really keeps me up at night.
But as far as the actual editing process, it’s the comma issue. When I was in school, we really had specific rules about commas and the Oxford comma was respected. Now, not so much. The pool of editors and publishers I deal with seems to prefer less commas, and I actually broke into tears during one edit because of the tracked changes with disappearing and re-appearing commas. Not because I’m that attached to the comma, but I felt pretty stupid.
4) What are your general thoughts on editing as part of the overall publishing process?
I have gotten the best tips from my beta-readers. But I have also gotten some pretty weird suggestions from people who didn’t get what I was going for. I like the arts and craft of writing, so I like to have other writers beta-read for me. Having fans of my work or my genre don’t always work for me… as I am not interested in what they think will sell well. Or who should survive the story.
I usually write in the moment, and that’s to say that the result is a string of moments. It’s important to have a set of eyes that can see the string as a whole, and let that story play out in one’s head. It’s got to appear smooth, except where it needs to appear as rough… or jolting.
5) What are your top editing-related tips for authors?
Putting things aside for a time helps.
Finding other writers you can support and vice versa helps.
Do Not Self-Reject. Send that story out if you aren’t sure. You might get feedback.
READ the submission guidelines. Yes, fix the margins if you have to. It’s easy once you get the hand of it. OK, that’s not editing per se, but it needs to be said. Formats are as much a part of your craft as anything else.
If you’re a niche writer, find a niche editor, if you can afford one.
If you’re self-publishing, you cannot NOT afford an decently skilled editor, if only as a proof reader. Apps can only take you so far, I believe.
About the Author
Bill Kieffer's only admitted vice is being himself on the internet (where he is a 6 foot tall – Bill is convinced that this makes him very tall – anthropomorphic draft horse that types as Greyflank. He is ever-so grateful to his wife over 25 years for putting up with him and his unadmitted vices. His new coworkers at a virtual reality company totally grok that he's a furry... but are still a little confused by the concept of a married, monogamous bisexual. Humans are funny.
He is a member of the Furry Writers Guild, a social media volunteer for the NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and a columnist for Underground Book Reviews. Past fiction credits include the Cóyotl Award winning The Goat: Building The Perfect Victim from Red Ferret Press. More recent publications include short stories in Roar 9, Fang 9, Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions, and In Flux.
His most recent book is from Australian Publisher Jaffa Books. COLD BLOOD: Fatal Fables, a collection of furry noir stories.