[DWJ] dalemark

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 17 10:48:27 EDT 2007

Rowena wrote:

>Thanks Minnow!

<grin> Glad to be of service!

>I've been wondering about this ever since Crown was released-I certainly
>don't remember seeing your explanation on the list before so apologies
>if it had been posted and I missed it-maybe it should be added to a FAQ
>on the main site.

I may not have posted it; I can't remember.  It is one of the things I have
heard DWJ say more than once, but never actually been able to remember
exactly, so I have to ask her again each time I think about it.

Putting it on the FAQ is Not My Pigeon, thank goodness, but if whoever does
that sort of thing wants to put it there, it might be a good idea.  It
might also be a good idea to check the spelling of Marnie Hodgkin, because
I don't feel confident that I have got it right and I don't have a copy of
the first edition to check it in even if it was in there somewhere which it
might well not be.  Kaye Webb I am fairly sure is right.

Anyhow, perhaps they were right: you liked the history where it was added,
after all!  <grin>

>Well I like the history, but it's comforting to know that the later
>editions are in fact how DWJ wanted them and not a result of an awful
>hatchet job-as was done on the 'updated' Ogre. Not that I've actually
>read said mangled Ogre-but several people have posted about it. As the
>original is laugh out loud funny, and beautifully captures family life
>in the 1970s I really can't see why the editors thought it needed

At one point an editor was unhappy with it using the "old" currency and
asked DWJ to let them change that; she reluctantly agreed, though she said
it was silly because it would need to be changed every time a new edition
came out what with inflation and all.  The version that *didn't* get
through as a result of this permission was one in which a new girl in the
office took that to mean "change whatever you want to" and did so, and DWJ
went ballistic when she saw the mangled remains... the girl had eliminated
everything she didn't understand, and that included most of the jokes.  I
understand that after she read the letter DWJ sent her on the subject, she
used up a whole box of tissues in the morning and had to be sent home for
the afternoon, and I can't honestly feel that she didn't deserve it!  (CDs
do not melt if they are left in a warm place, in the way that LPs do, for
instance, so changing "LP" to "CD" was not exactly sensible.  Lots of stuff
like that.  I saw the "corrected" proofs as sent to the author, and they
were truly astounding.)

But the whole book was changed at the very start of its publishing history,
because the original ending (in which the Ogre died, I think) was
unacceptable to the publisher and somebody took it upon themselves to
re-write the last chapter including (again, I think) a lot of fluffy pink
footballs, so DWJ in despair re-wrote it herself to be closer to what they
were demanding.

It's an editorial habit, making slight alterations: I expect it stems from
a need to feel that they have contributed to the final book, and in some
cases it's a jolly good thing, and the editor spots ambiguities or errors
that slide past the author.  In others it's a menace.  This probably
depends on how well the editor has understood what the author has written,
or how much faith in the author's really having meant to say something, and
ability to say it as intended, the editor has.


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