Thursday, July 12, 2012

I love my editor. Also, I hate her.


I love my editor.

She emails things like “OMG, I love your story! I choked up reading the last sixteen pages. You are great at spinning emotion!”

And I’m smugly buffing my nails on the lapels of my vintage velvet smoking jacket, going “Hells yes, I am AWESOME!”  and designing an Emotional Blackmailer badge in my head to put on my velvet vintage smoking jacket.

You know I don’t really have a smoking jacket, right? I don’t even know what one is, except it seems sort of needless to change clothing just to smoke. If I had one, and if it’s what I think it is, I would wear it with a fez.

I totally have a fez.

Source
I hate my editor.

She says things like “Anyone reading this who is not familiar with the history of the period will be quite confused. You need a few sentences or a paragraph of explanation.” And then she says things like “I find that you slipped into telling quite a lot in his POV.”

And I’m all like “For serious? First I’m holding back, and then I’m telling too much? Make up your mind!” And then I realise that it’s not impossible that I’m doing both of those things at two different points in the story, and a part of me dies inside.

I love my editor. 

When she makes a suggestion, it makes my story better; stronger; clearer. Also, she knows how to properly use a semicolon, which is something I've obviously never figured out even though I sprinkle them through my writing like fairy dust because they look pretty. 

I hate my editor.

When we go through every single line and read every single word I feel like I’m back in school and she’s a scary teacher with a red pen in one hand and a ruler in the other, and the bits that I thought were clever are not that clever, and the bits that I kind of rushed through — holy crap, she can spot those a mile off. My editor puts me on the guilt trip my conscience didn’t, but she does it in such a nice way that I thank her for it.

I love my editor.

She turns my story into a proper book. And I have no idea how she does it. I don’t know how editors do the thing they do — immediately honing in on what needs tightening and what needs changing and moving and fixing — but I suspect black magic is involved.

All hail Abrazaxicos.

Who is the demon that editors worship. Also, I just made him up. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and google “smoking jackets”. 

12 comments:

  1. Ah the love/hate relationship amongst an author and editor. I feel for you!

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    1. It's mostly love...punctuated by periods of mindless weeping in front of my computer asking god to free me from the torture.

      She's kind of like a scary personal trainer for my brain...I fight against it the whole way, but I come out the other side much healthier!

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  2. This is exactly why I want to be traditionally published. I crave the expertise and attention of a professional editor who will be able to make my work shine. The thought of all that critiquing does make me nervous, but the end result must be worth it!

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    1. The end result is totally worth it, Charlotte, and you know the craziest thing? At the end, your editor will tell you what a fantastic book you've written, when you know there is no way in hell you could have done it without her.

      I think editors are amazing. They bash everything into shape, cobble it together, polish it up, and then step back and let someone else take all the credit.

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  3. Are you sure you didn't mean Abrazados? I'd love any editor who worshipped the God of Hugs. :-)

    P.S. To Jen's editor - there's a fiver in it for you if you send me a note, if just so that I might have one more clue in discovering these novels that have been so unjustly hidden from us by the emotion-spinning, semicolon-sprinkling, fez-wearing author known as Jen.

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  4. Aw, a god of hugs. See, this is why we should not only be polytheistic, we should have an open-door policy on any new gods that anyone comes up with. I think Abrazados probably looks like a Care Bear.

    Also, I have a fez but I don't wear it. It's sitting on top of my wine rack, where it has became an integral part of my domestic gecko breeding program. I think it's the hatchery. I need to do a post on geckoes.

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  5. LOL! Very funny. It is a love hate relationship, huh?

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    1. Thanks Mina! Yeah, it's definitely a love/hate relationship from my side. With also a lot of self-hate, moments of incredible doubt, uncertainty, jealousy, commitment and a happy ending. I can go through every stage of a melodramatic relationship in the five minutes it takes to read one of her emails.

      But my editor, to her absolute credit, is immune my author-crazy.

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  6. Love/hate for sure. But the love part is what wins out in the end, right? :)

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    1. Love, absolutely. Or worship. Or idolatry.

      My editor is the most brilliant human being who ever existed. Who says she isn't? I'll fight you!

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  7. It's great to love and hate your editor, but I bet you want to keep her for life :-) I wouldn't mind mine sitting on my shoulder at all times LOL

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    1. Oh, absolutely! She is a miracle worker.

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