Edits. You never know what you're going to get when you entrust you WIP to someone else's critical eye. The only way you get to pick your editor is if you're self-publishing. The rest of the time, you get the luck of the draw.
I don't have a horror story per se - just an annoyed the crap out of me story. I had a copy editor, a copy editor I hadn't picked. This copy editor defined nitpicker. He didn't understand my genre. He had a totally literal brain and a need to prove he was smarter than anyone else. So rather than simply marking that I'd overused a word, there just had to be a condescending comment about it.
I gritted my teeth, muttered, "Fuck you" under my breath a lot. But even if I didn't appreciate the nonsense, I had to check my ego and make corrections regardless of the BS comments. I also did check in with my editor, who was amazing. I asked if it was possible to request that a copy editor NOT be assigned to my work any longer. She chuckled and said, "Yes, it is. I wondered how you'd feel about that copy edit. I disagreed with some of the edits. I feel like he was changing your voice."
A vast wave of relief washed over me. I wasn't just being a jerk when I declined a bunch of suggested edits. I was preserving my story and my voice.
I learned several things from this experience:
- Never submit your master copy to your editor - keep a back up that is your clean copy.
- If you have concerns, always talk to your editor in a calm, professional manner.
- If you're self-publishing, remember you hired 'em, you can fire 'em. Don't spend time furthering a mistake just because you spent a long time (or a lot of money spent) making it.
- Ask other authors for recommendations before you hire any kind of editor.
- No one caution or solution will prevent poor experiences, but if you make sure you always keep a clean copy in your files, you have a fall back.
Finally, it doesn't matter how many annoying edits I get, I'll always ask for edits from someone who gets paid for doing the job. I'm not equipped to call myself on my own bad writing habits and I like my readers too much to leave those habits unchallenged.