Friday, January 10, 2014

So you want to be a writer? Getting an editor, part 2...

Happy little WERD gremlin that you are, you sit down eagerly and pound the keyboard until you have a book. And it's a beautiful book! Look at those words, so pretty and shiny! They flew from your fingers with breathtaking magic, making you laugh, cry, pace in frustration and sigh with relief when you're finally DONE!

You package it all up, nice and pretty - while dreaming of covers, dream-casting the main characters, wondering who to dedicate it to - and send it into the ether on submittal.

At some point, someone bites. You tug gently on the line, making sure you set the hook properly and lo and behold! You have a contract for publication! You are ecstatic! You do the happy dance, drink to much tequila and tell all your friends.

For more on all of this, read THIS.

And off you go to the editing cave. Yes, the editing cave. It's dark, it smells funny, and so do you. Cuz you find yourself spending A LOT of time in the editing cave. You converse more with your editor than you do with your husband. Your editor GETS you more than your husband does. Your editor even puts up with you better than your husband. In fact, your relationship with your editor reminds you a lot of when you first met and dated your husband.

And for more on this, read THIS.

And then… the glamour wears off. The relationship tarnishes, the fresh new scent fades and are faced with a lot of:

But that's nothing… that's just "developmental" edits. As your relationship matures and you finally feel secure enough to admit to your real feelings (not that your editor's felt any constraints as she shreds your baby to pieces), you experience panic attacks, heart palpitations and brief moments of minor lucidity. 

You finish making all the changes, send it back and wait. Sometimes days. Sometimes weeks. You hold your breath, wondering if you went to far with your snarky comments and artists prerogative. You wonder if you've pushed a little too hard, and if you'll ever hear from her again, or if she's decided your too mental, too needy and clingy and she's moved on to another, stronger and more secure…

Uh, wait - we're talking about editors and authors, right?

So, where was I? Right - line edits. Yup. You've made it over the hurdle and are now onto line edits. Don't celebrate yet… this stuff makes developmental edits look like cake. Wanna see? 


Yes, so much better! Now you have TWO people marking up your precious. My, aren't all the colors pretty! You're overwhelmed. You're insecure. You wonder if you can do this. You call you're best writer buddy and ask for advice. 

And for more on that, read THIS.

But something strange happens along the way… something exciting and unexpected and a lot like when your relationship with your (now) husband moved into that "I can spend the rest of my life with this person" comfort zone. You know, the point when he makes your coffee the way you like it, learns not to throw your cashmere sweater in the dryer and even cleans your car out for you? Yeah - that stage.

See, you realize at some point through this whole editing process that what your editor is really doing is making you a BETTER WRITER!

Holy Crap! An epiphany the size of Montana hits you and you start seeing your NEW writing in a whole new light. It's cleaner, neater and flows more smoothly across the page. You catch all those silly adverbs and unnecessary pronouns before you finish the line your writing. You catch your own inconsistencies and authorial projections and you realize, you really really realize, that this person is GOOD FOR YOU. 

Like, awesomely good for you in all the best ways. And you want nothing more than to spend the rest of your writing life with this person, because the bring out the VERY BEST in you, in all that you do. You want to make them PROUD of you, to make them say NICE things and BRAG that they are with YOU! 

And if you're lucky - if you're very, very lucky - they feel the same way!

Cue the obligatory insanely cute bunny roll:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the great tips. I am not much of a writer but it is something I should start doing more often.