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Old 07-05-2008, 09:21 PM   #8
DMcCunney
New York Editor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayda View Post
One of Heinlein's trademarks was that he never reworked books.
Untrue. _Stranger In a Strange Land_, for instance, was a long time in brewing, as he struggled to find the right form for the story he wanted to tell, and was written in at least three distinct stages.

_Podkayne of Mars_ was altered on editorial request, because the original manuscript had Poddy dying at the end. The book was written for Scribner's YA line, and the editor at Scribners thought Poddy dying was too dark for the intended audience. Heinlein grumbled, because he thought having Poddy live undercut the point he was trying to make, but he complied.

Heinlein did eventually refuse to rework submissions in some cases. He had been a frequent contributor to Astounding/Analog when the late John W. Campbell was the editor, but later grew disenchanted with Campbell's editing, and essentially said "I'll make a deal. I'll send you stories, and you publish them. The first one you bounce is the last one I'll submit." The breaking point came with _I Will Fear No Evil_, which wound up being serialized in Galaxy instead of being published in Analog.

(I had a conversation with Robert Silverberg at a con back then, where I expressed confusion. Silverberg had a novel serialized in Galaxy, and at the same time, a series of novelettes appeared in Galaxy that got collected into another book. Bob explained that then-editor at Galaxy Eljer Jacobsenn was supposed to buy another novel to run between, so the issues wouldn't appear to be "All Silverberg, all the time", but _I Will Fear No Evil_ became available, and had to be bought and run in the magazine right away to get it finished before the impending Putnam hardcover release. So issues of scheduling caused a lot of Silverberg to appear all at once in the magazine.)

Heinlein was a pro, writing for a living. He pronounced five rules for writers:

1) You must write.

2) You must finish what you write

3) Having written, you must submit to potential paying markets.

4) You must continue submitting until the piece either sells or has been bounced by every conceivable market.

5) You must not change what you have written unless an editor formally commits to buying it with those changes.

Many aspiring writer have big problems with 1 and 2.

Like any other selling pro, how gracefully RAH accepted editing varied with the editor and the stage of his career. He was more resistant to making changes after he became an established big name in SF

His wife Virgina was far more of a sticking point, insisting after his death on re-issues of his books based on the original manuscripts, before the editing that took place on the released versions. I've read a few, like the before and after versions of Stranger. The editing was of the "a word here, a phrase there" variety that any competent editor does in a line edit to tighten the prose and quicken the pace of the book. While interesting from a historical viewpoint, the unedited versions aren't dramatically different in terms of the story they tell, and simply demonstrate why even the best writers can benefit from a good editor, to make a good book even better.
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Dennis
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