Thursday, March 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Playing Editor



Suggested by John :


How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:
__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

Interesting question. But a hard one to answer. Truthfully, I don't even know how. Sure there are books that I have questioned , "Why, oh why, did that have to happen?" There are books I have read that I have loved....and books I haven't. Even a few that I would go as far as to say I actually hated. But would I have CHANGED them? Probably not. That's not my right. An author must have a vision when he or she writes, and who am I to question that vision? Doesn't mean I have to like it.

For example, Jodi Picoult has written a lot of books that have some questionable endings. My Sister's Keeper is certainly one of those books. I really loved this book, although the ending left me in tears. Would it have been a better book if one of the main characters hadn't died in the end? Well...I probably wouldn't have cried so much, but it would have changed the tone. It would have been a different book, and I might not have enjoyed it as much.

Certainly Tolstoy could have shortened War and Peace. I mean, come on. Those battle scenes could have been a little....less. But that was the book he wrote, and it has stood the test of time.

Almost ever Stephen King book ends with the knowledge that the creepy-crawly monster is STILL out there. Maybe I would have slept a little better not worrying about what was under my bed at night, but would I have kept reading his books if the endings were are tied up into little neat packages?? Who knows?

So basically, my answer is this: I don't think I would edit anything. The writer's vision is his own, and who am I to judge!

Happy Thursday!

19 comments:

Chris said...

I feel like clapping and shouting 'good answer' like I'm on Family Feud.

Stephanie said...

Chris - Why thank you!! Maybe I'm just a little weird, but I wouldn't actually change any of the books I've ever read. (Except for the fact that I might not have read them at all!)

Debi said...

Perfect answer! No one could possibly like every little thing about every book they read. But to say an author should change his/her vision to please someone else, well, that's just ridiculous, isn't it?

Stephanie said...

Debi - Are you SURE we aren't related???

gautami tripathy said...

Kafka uses too much symbolism. However, without those his books simply crumble. So in a way, the books should be left as they are.

But I stick to my views about Ulysses!

BTW, thanks for your visit.

Table Talk said...

I really didn't want Anna to die at the end of 'My Sister's Keeper' but I don't see how else it could to have com to an end. I think she wrote herself into a corner.

Amy said...

Great answer!

I hope you enjoy Firefly Lane. It was an ok book. I cried.

I just hate that I saw the ending coming 1/3 of the way through the book.

Rhinoa said...

I don't know about War and Peace, but Tolstoy wrote the final part to Anna Karenina which his publishers excluded originally. On reading it, the publishers made the correct choice and I feel the book would have been better ending a little sooner.

John Mutford said...

I love how the question itself has become more the topic of discussion.

heather (errantdreams) said...

The books that have me most thinking I'd love to be an editor who could urge the author to change something are the ones where it seems that the author has one or more characters behave in an out-of-character fashion just to achieve some authorial goal such as a happy ending, sad ending, opening for another book, etc.

trish said...

We definitely agree on this! My Sister's Keeper came to my mind as well, but like you, I wouldn't change a thing. :-)

jpderosnay said...

my response to this is a weird one, 'cause i'd say i agree, but that would send my friends into a laughing fit - 'cause i'm extremely critical of things, and often without realising it.

so i guess, if i respect the work (or probably, if i can't be bothered) for the most part i agree with your feeling.

i think writers deserve respect in general. i mean, how many books have we written?

i guess, the only time when i'd criticise a book to the degree where i'd say something should've been omitted or changed is when i feel that the part in question was truly counter-productive to the story.

bethany said...

i don't know...it was fun to just think about it. I didn't take it as really changing the book, but just what would you have done IF you had written it...ya know?

Trish said...

I can still remember reading My Sister's Keeper and thinking--how can this possibly turn out well. I had a tough time with the ending (sobbing at 2 am), but I can't imagine it any other way. I just finished Salem Falls and picked up her new book a few days ago. Man she has written a lot!

Melody said...

I agree with you, Stephanie!!! And I LOVE My Sister's Keeper although the book makes me cry! I don't think I'd enjoy the book if the ending is different too!

Kim L said...

I would have changed the ending of My Sister's Keeper as well, but not because it was poorly written, just because I didn't want to let go of that character. Isn't it funny, she never really existed, except in my mind?

pussreboots said...

I haven't read My Sister's Keeper so I can't comment on that piece of your answer. Published books all have editors and I'm not sure how clear an author's vision is.

Anyway, I posted my answer based around Harry Potter.

Trish said...

Wow, I had forgotten to unsubscribe to these comments and wow!!! What is that all about??

Stephanie said...

Trish - I have NO idea!! What a crazy nutjob, that's for sure. That's the first time I've gotten anything like that!!