Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Editing Like Covering A Song?

This is by no means ruling out editing as a practice, just to say that up front. And it is by no means trying to insult anyone who does edit—your job is very important, and I respect that.

As someone who writes, I think that editing is a necessity. It's to make sure that things are true, it's to make sure that things are logically put together, and it's to keep a sense of style signature to a publication. Editing is necessary, and sometimes, it turns out wonderfully.

I do admit, though, sometimes when I edit, I'm not as proud of the end result as I was with the original. Yes, the story would probably make more sense for print, and yes, the story turns out good with my name on it.

But sometimes when it's finished, it doesn't sound like I wrote it anymore. It's like when an artist covers a song. The lyrics, the music, and the intentions behind the song all stay the home. But it loses the voice of the artist in translation (kind of like this picture of my Aunt hiding behind Peter Gabriel's mug).

Now sometimes, this is a good thing. Listening to original demos and then to the people who made them famous? Sometimes it's a very good thing (Whitney Houston owes a lot to Dolly Parton, who originally wrote "I Will Always Love You," and I argue that Fountains of Wayne's version of "...Baby One More Time" is the best incarnation of Britney's first hit, with Travis's version being a close second).

But sometimes, you get Pat Boone covering Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." Or Madonna murdering Don McLean's epic "American Pie."

(Come to think of it, this cover war deserves its own post)

But what do you think?

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