On the 16th Day of Halloween, my truly creepy love gave to me:
SIXTEEN HOMICIDAL VEHICLES,
FOURTEEN VAMPIRE COFFINS,
THIRTEEN DEADLY TOOLS,
TWELVE GRUESOME PUZZLES IF YOU WANT TO ESCAPE!
ELEVEN CHAINSAW PSYCHOS,
TEN CREEPY GUSTS OF WIND,
NINE HOWLING WEREWOLVES,
EIGHT FLESH-HUNGRY GHOULS,
SEVEN POUNDS OF CANDY,
SIX FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTERS,
FIIIIVE MOANING GHOOOOOSTS!
FOUR CACKLING WITCHES,
THREE SHAMBLING ZOMBIES,
TWO SERIAL KILLERS,
AND A VAMPIRE BITING MY NEEEECK!
I’m really bummed that I’m so sick at this time of year. I don’t mind at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but Halloween is my very favorite! I love decorating and dressing up even if I don’t go anywhere — I’m kinda nuts like that. But unfortunately, unless I start feeling better soon, I’m not going to be able to do much fun stuff.
So I expect everyone reading this to do extra fun and creepy activities in my stead!
Today I wanted to talk a little bit about editors. I hear a lot of people complain about them, and others singing their praises. Today, working with the editor on my SOOPER SEKRIT alter ego’s upcoming short story, I’m reminded how amazing a good editor is — how much they add to a story and the way they take a writer’s flaws and smooth them out. And by “a writer,” I mean “me.” He does things with words, sees things in the pattern of them, that I completely miss. Seriously, every other correction and suggestion makes me go, “Ohhhhh! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.” He sees things that I’ve written that either don’t work, or that, frankly, would probably turn a reader off — because that’s part of what he is, a reader.We’re like two sides of a coin working on the same story — I’m the imagination, and he’s the technician. (I’m sure he’s a very talented writer in his own right, I’m just talking about this particular context.) It’s a symbiosis that I hope works out for the best for everyone who reads the story.
On the other hand, I’ve also had recent experience with a really unprofessional editor. It’s a different writing format (freelance), and has different expectations (an editor at the paper doesn’t necessarily do word-by-word work on every piece, although this editor said she did.). But this editor didn’t even return emails 99% of the time, let alone ever work with a writer to make a piece better. In freelance, it’s not uncommon to submit a piece and have it sent back or rejected for revisions without much personal interaction except brief notes, but there is ALWAYS some kind of a response one way or the other. With this editor, you never knew the fate of a piece you submitted until it appeared (if it appeared) in the publication. This included assignment pieces and supposed “monthly columns.” No comments, no feedback, nothing. Just emailed into the ether.
Of course, if this editor was desperate for material to fill up space in the publication, they had absolutely no qualms about emailing every freelancer on their list and begging for pieces… which the editor may or may not respond to, if you sent queries, pitches, or submissions in response to the plea. I once emailed this editor about the problems, and what did I receive in response? A two page SCREED about how ignorant and unprofessional I was.
This publication, unfortunately, was the one that paid the best out of all my employers. The money, however, just wasn’t worth the pressure. I would rather work harder and longer with better editors, than waste my time and maybe make bigger money. So I haven’t submitted anything to this publication for quite a while. Recently, I heard that this editor left, and another will soon take their place. I’m hoping for a smoother relationship, and maybe start submitting there again.
It was interesting that working with this excellent editor and the exit of a poor editor happened at the same time — it really got me thinking about the topic, and appreciating my great editor more.
So, thanks D! And writers — definitely give props if you have a terrific editor!