I write fiction, I guess you could say experimental fiction, but I just feel I am more of a stylist. Every story of mine that's been accepted was taken as is. Now, for the first time, I am dealing with an editor who sent back a heavily edited draft of a short story. They did more than cut: they rewrote. I withdrew the submission, and thanked them. They wrote back, told me they really wanted it, and would I be ok with light editorial touches? I feel extremely uncomfortable with this process.
I understand concision. I understand plot holes and grammar mistakes. I understand being too close to the work and needing to pull away. I understand why people need extra eyes. What I don't understand is this: Is it common for an editor to rewrite your sentences? I thought they would suggest rewrites in those aforementioned sections, but to rewrite parts in a story whose language is driven by rhythm seems, to me, not worth it. I feel it isn't worth it to try to explain what something means, why the structure represents a certain action inside the story, why rewriting my sentences makes me feel like I never even wrote it. I just want to know if this editorial process is common, because I may have to steel myself for it.
Writing took over my life, because it knew I couldn't handle people. It consumes me, but in a good way. A great way. Now I'm back to dealing with people. To have to deal with someone rewriting my sentences makes me wonder if submitting is even worth it anymore. My first desire was not to be published; I wanted to look at something and love it, and know I created something I feel is a work of art--not to others, but to myself.
Henry Miller once wrote: "The act of putting down words is a narcotic." He was right. Unfortunately, dealing with an editor is like sobering up.