Hi, kids! Hope this past week has treated you well. The usual crazy going on here, but let’s take a moment and chat about something else writing-related.
OMG your blood is pumping, your juices are flowing and you’re just salivating at the mention of the word EDITING. It’s okay. I totally understand.
Anyway, yes, I am a writer but I started professionally editing way back in the early 1990s, during the Dark Ages when starving peasants tilled the soil outside the castle and if you wanted to talk to somebody you had to walk to the other side of the village before dark, because that was when the wolves came out to gnaw on hapless villagers who didn’t fall under the purview of the manor lord’s protection. If not wolves, then witches, werewolves, and vampires.
Shit was scary back in the day.
But now, thanks to technology, we know all that scary shit isn’t on the edge of the village. IT’S ON THE INTERWEBZ. Whew.
Anyway, I worked in publishing for about 15 years, either managing in-house or freelance editing out-of-house. I’m still an editor, and I still keep up with the publishing industry, but I’m a writer, too. Which means I have been on both sides of the fence and I have a certain amount of empathy for both perspectives.
I know what it feels like to be working with an editor who you think is missing the point of your vision, who is crushing your writing dreams by saying a scene doesn’t work, who just might be a cross between a werewolf and a vampire and is merely toying with your emotions before stomping on your ego. I get that. But I also know what it’s like to help a writer realize her vision in clearer, stronger prose so that she goes on to write better prose later and she remains a colleague and works with you many times after that because she trusts you.
That is the essence of an editor-writer relationship. Trust. It’s important to trust that an editor has the professional background and training to work with a writer on craft as well as narrative. On the other side of that, it’s important that an editor trust that a writer is open to edits, is open to realizing that sometimes, a writer is much too close to a project to see clearly, and that a writer wants to improve her craft.
That’s the ideal. So with that in mind, what should you NOT say to an editor with whom you are working?
Let’s go see…