The Changing Room...also Abattoir for the Unyielding
Do you have clients who are unwilling to change anything in their manuscripts? (Okay, I realize this little problem probably crops up BEFORE you sign anyone, and so you therefore don't sign an uncooperative--aka unrealistic--writer, but still one wonders....) When is it okay for a writer to protect the artistic integrity of her work? When should the writer be willing to change her work and when shouldn't she? If you want changes, and the writer doesn't want to make them, do you insist or send the work out anyway?
I'm curious because my earlier comment to your blog about the writer in my group who won't change her characters' ages got me to thinking about it. That would be an insignificant change, of course, but I was wondering about the bigger picture and what's worth fighting for and what isn't.
Short answer: no
middle answer: read your contract
Longer answer: Many agents have clauses in the representation agreement that they can make minor changes that don't affect the integrity of the work. MIne doesn't. We're going to agree on the finished format before it goes out. Publishing contracts also have those kinds of clauses.
I've never had a client flat out refuse to make a change. We've come to blows over some of those "was" "had" and "to be" verbiage that makes me crazy but in the end we agreed on what was going out to editors.
I have refused to sign clients who wouldn't make changes I thought were neccesary. As a reader, if I'm confused about something, and I read it again, I don't think the problem is that I'm stupid. I think it's the writing that needs to be cleaned up. Not everyone agrees with that truth. They're wrong. They're also represented as they say "elsewhere".
When should you not make changes? I don't know.
That's why it's important to have an agent you have some confidence in.
At some point, you have to believe in their judgement and value their input.
Same goes for your editor.
Intransigence is very Ayn Rand...but it makes really rotten clients.