[DWJ] dalemark

R.Macrae-Gibson at lse.ac.uk R.Macrae-Gibson at lse.ac.uk
Sun Jun 17 11:16:25 EDT 2007

Oh I didn't know that-that the Ogre died in her original story-would
have been a different book-but would rather have this than fluffy pink
footballs any day! Because of course, no-one dies in Real Life and no
child has ever had any experience of anyone dying...

I do like Caspar's realisation that the Ogre isn't an Ogre after
all-haven't got the book to hand but something about realising how the
Ogre's face doesn't show his feelings or that his voice doesn't.

The other editorial tale I remember is the editor who didn't like
children using matches in Eight Days of Luke-glad that aspect didn't
have to be re-written.

I remember reading loads of 'old' books when younger-having 'old'
details is part of the fun-part of the descriptiveness of the work and
it seems silly and patronising to update everything. 

Or actually potentially quite amusing if one was to think of completely
daft ways to get modern stuff into 'old' works. Let's get rid of all
those epistolary novels-they can all be Facebook messages instead etc

Thanks for the insights, Minnow!

-----Original Message-----
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf
Of Minnow
Sent: 17 June 2007 15:48
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: RE: [DWJ] dalemark

Rowena wrote:

>Thanks Minnow!

<grin> Glad to be of service!

>I've been wondering about this ever since Crown was released-I
>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
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
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,
I don't feel confident that I have got it right and I don't have a copy
the first edition to check it in even if it was in there somewhere which
might well not be.  Kaye Webb I am fairly sure is right.

Anyhow, perhaps they were right: you liked the history where it was
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
it was silly because it would need to be changed every time a new
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
office took that to mean "change whatever you want to" and did so, and
went ballistic when she saw the mangled remains... the girl had
everything she didn't understand, and that included most of the jokes.
understand that after she read the letter DWJ sent her on the subject,
used up a whole box of tissues in the morning and had to be sent home
the afternoon, and I can't honestly feel that she didn't deserve it!
do not melt if they are left in a warm place, in the way that LPs do,
instance, so changing "LP" to "CD" was not exactly sensible.  Lots of
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
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
footballs, so DWJ in despair re-wrote it herself to be closer to what
were demanding.

It's an editorial habit, making slight alterations: I expect it stems
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
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
or how much faith in the author's really having meant to say something,
ability to say it as intended, the editor has.


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