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Your Opinion, Please? 
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Post Your Opinion, Please?
Hello ...

I am in the process of self-publishing a non-fiction book heavily based on interviews with people who have been involved in a variety of wilderness emergencies. These people are search and rescue personnel, subjects of operations, families involved, police and fire personnel, and so on. Those interviewed represent a wide cross-section of people involved in emergency operations.

I have received an editor's opinion that the verbatim quotes obtained from these interviews should be excluded from the book if they contain swear words, a sexist comment, or say rude things about another person. On some other quotes, the editor wants to alter the quotes so the stories "flow better", are grammatically correct, and are sanitized to make sure various organizations appear "more professional". Her reasoning here is that readers will be more accepting of properly constructed memories than the rather earthy and from-the-heart statements made by certain interviewees.

I am hesitant to act on the editor's input as the quotes were obtained in interviews where there was a high level of trust between the person being interviewed and myself. I do not want to betray that trust by cleaning up the emotional or passionate memories given to me so some readers won't be offended.

At some level, I feel that editing or deleting quotes obtained in interviews is a form of censorship. And yet, I am not a professional editor and don't know if this is advice I should act on or advice I should reject out of hand. I am leaning towards rejecting the advice, but would like to hear from others who may have an opinion on this matter.

Thank you for considering this question. Looking forward to the responses. This is my first post on this forum.

All the best.



Wed May 20, 2020 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Your Opinion, Please?
There are a number of things to consider here:

Sometimes people being interviewed are content to relay certain information to the interviewer to convey a certain idea, but those people are only speaking to the interviewer (whom they know and trust) and may not be conscious of the ultimate audience to which it may be relayed at a later time. And so they may say indiscreet things or controversial things or certain things which may distract from the point that they are intending to convey. It therefore may be a beach of trust to quote them verbatim (which is in a sense, out of context) as opposed to stating "words to the effect" of what they were intending to convey.

On the other hand, persons may intend to be fully quoted and not paraphrased and usually the person makes that clear. Eg, "You can quote me on that"

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Thu May 21, 2020 6:09 am
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Post Re: Your Opinion, Please?
The key issue the editor is raising is the meaning inferred by the reader. Colloquial language can help or hinder this process.


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Thu May 21, 2020 7:06 am
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Post Re: Your Opinion, Please?
Just write things that you have experienced or make up something crazy and dark. :wink: Depends on what you like, Depends on what you do write down matters to the readers :slap: Maybe you should read more books to help you get into the writers thing.. hope that helps :slap: :roll:


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