Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Biting the Hand...

A while back, I was doing my normal thing and poking around Twitter while I made breakfast when this popped up in my feed:
I threw up a little in my mouth when I read it.

I mean, all published authors have had some edits that make them want to scream but, dude... You're a goddamn professional. Grab a pillow, scream, then pull up your panties and get to work.

Here's a little mantra that might help you:
My editor is not my enemy. My editor is my book's very best friend.
Post it all over your office, house, car... tattoo it backwards on your forehead (so you can read it in the mirror) or forward on your arm (so it's visible every time you sit down at your computer). Learn it. Live it. Love it.

Editing isn't like a break up, it's really not. Your editor is not taking your book (heart) and ripping it to shreds in order to leave it (you) destroyed. It might momentarily feel that way, but it's not reality. Your editor's job is to make your book better.

Look at it like Frankenstein's monster.

Dude is basically building a person. He's got a pretty good handle on anatomy and has all the requisite equipment. When he flips the switch, the creature animates but...chaos results.

In the book world, that kind of chaos is bad.

Imagine if Frankenstein had an editor. Said editor would point out things like how stupid it would be to use a criminal's brain or heart. Bad juju. They'd notice that gaping hole where some organ or other should be. They might even be able to point out how to revive the creature without it turning monstrous.

Granted, that creature wouldn't have been as interesting to read about, but it would have LIVED. It would have been a miracle rather than a monster.

Writers, without a good editor, are creating monsters.

Now, you and your particular editor might not be a good fit. The editor might not "get" you. This happens, but it's no excuse for sending hate mail. It's no excuse for acting like a diva. Your art isn't art yet. It's palatable crap. You want--no, you deserve for it to be better than that, so why would you not take everything your editor says to heart?

Of course, there will be bits and pieces that require discussion and a few things that maybe you should fight for, but the author-editor relationship should be one of partners. Ask questions, get clarification, fight for that one scene that you know readers will love. But don't be an ass about it.

In fact--unless you are under mad deadlines which are rare with first round edits--don't do anything with your edits for at least 24 hours after you read them. Let them gel in your mind. Then read them again. Stuff that pissed you off at first glance might make more sense. And if they don't, give yourself another 24. Read the manuscript again with the editor comments in your mind and see if you can understand where the editor was coming from.

Then, take your questions, concerns, etc. and talk to the editor politely. They just spent a lot of time pouring over your work to help you make it better. Respect that. And choose your battles. There are darlings that will need to be killed in the editing process. Sometimes a lot of them. Be a professional and accept that fact.

24-48 hours. That's all. And it could be enough to keep you from turning a partnership into an adversarial mess. It could be enough to keep you from garnering a reputation as an author who is a bear to work with. Publishing isn't as big a world as people like to think--don't ruin your place in it with your ego.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment! Just don't be a dick. Or we'll hunt you down.

Our Theme Song