Cut and Paste

Get it? “Condensed” versions had ‘extra scenes’. EXTRA.

I have read many a tedious book or parts that I skimmed through, (Elaine mentioned “War and Peace” earlier in the week; I could not have cared less from which direction Napoleon decided to attack, etc.), but to actually add scenes is too much.

I can tell you that it happened with a Stephen King book and a section of a James Michener saga in Reader’s Digest. They published a SECTION of “Centennial” and not only left out a great deal, they added to it.

They decided that they wanted to ‘improve’ upon King and Michener.  They rewrote part of Michener’s work, even though they published only a small section.

These were not for clarification; the scenes  added no information nor did they make any of the reading easier as far as I could see. Granted, the ‘mini-series’ of Centennial did a lot more editing and rewriting, but we are talking Reader’s Digest here. (I have implored all writers to read “Writing Movies For Fun and Profit” by  Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon to see why and how  written works are changed when translated to the screen.)

I have to say that knowing this, I would probably not be happy if Reader’s Digest’s people  got their scissors and pens on my stories.

Oh, it would be an honor, I suppose and it could lead to big sales, but would I rather someone else’s book club,(Oprah, Kelly, etc.), picked one up? You bet, but that would be in entirety, and is not  this week’s question.

I have worked hard, so hard that I can’t seem to get my act in gear to put a whole book out there yet, but I know that I must. The idea of  then allowing someone else delete passages, edit out my carefully constructed scenes and carefully chosen words is unbearable to me, (I mean after my own editors and I have worked out what need to go or be re-worked, which can be hard enough, thank  you very much), then to have someone else also add passages?

It’s painful to think of.

The pride coming from a Reader’s Digest printing would be enormous. The ‘exposure’ would be otherwise impossible to purchase.

But, I don’t know.

What good is the fame if I have a nervous breakdown?

I guess that I could live with it,

but a younger me would not  have ‘sold out’.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in Anthologies, big plans, Books, collections, Compilations, decisions, editing, experiences, memories, Miscellaneous, novels, plots, publishing, Tonette Joyce, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Cut and Paste

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Interesting that you mention Michener, whom I heard speak at a library conference — probably Dallas in 1978 (not sure anymore). In his presentation, he discussed his tedious (to me) and pains-taking process of researching every single detail he could find about his broader subject and setting. On note cards, no less. And then he’d sort them so he’d have both a chronology of what was really going on at the time and how that might affect his characters / plot.
    I was intrigued enough to get my hands on a copy of Chesapeake, when it was newly-released. I read the first 50 pages or so and simply couldn’t get interested. yeah, I understand they had a lot of mosquitos, but Michener seemed to go on and on about the setting… and I was eager to find out what the people were going to do. I never finished it. One of the very few books I just dropped because I got bored / impatient.
    I didn’t realize RD had serialized any of his work and ADDED to it. Gadzooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that Michener did indeed get tedious, but the man got credits for accuracy, oh, and writing. He needed guidance! I think his publishers enjoyed the uniqueness of the size of his volumes. The man was held as a standard for decades. I never read “Tales of the South Pacific”, but the movie “South Pacific” is enjoyable,as was “Centennial”. Other screen adaptations of Michener’s works were not so successful.
      When I was the mini-series, I noticed that it was in some ways different from the RD excerpt I had read.When I read the book, it was still different.(Shaking my head.)
      I would have like to have heard him speak. I enjoyed his interviews on TV.


      • Jeff Salter says:

        I actually did read Tales of the South Pacific. While it was MUCH shorter than anything he ever wrote later and interesting in itself, I found myself (as I read) trying to match those scenes and characters with what I’d seen in the movie version back in the 1960s. Alas, there was very little connection. If I’d been Michener, I think I would have HATED the Hollywood musical version of his book.
        That said, I enjoyed the film and liked some of the songs.


  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I wouldn’t want you to have a nervous breakdown. We’d better put a bug in their ears to not make you an offer!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I understand that author pride. I’d feel a little of that too if I got an offer even though I would accept it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s