Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Please Ma'am May I Have Another

When this topic was first mentioned I was a little nervous. Responsibilities? Please, I'm almost 30 years old and still live with my mother. What do I know about responsibility?

Luckily, I have two brilliant women who post before I do every week. Reading Anny and Brynn's blogs this week made the lightbulb go on. Ohhhhh...I get it now.


I am the kind of writer who will bang out 12k in a day, then get emails from my editor after submitting that say things like "You have three Tuesdays in that one week." And I feel awful. I mean, this woman has a hard enough time removing my excessive commas, fixing my misspellings that are not, (i.e. "Wear are we going." *Groan.), and reworking my abysmal chapter breaks. She shouldn't have to make sure I know how the weeks work as well.

I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful editor, a woman who is so understanding and kind about pointing out my errors. She keeps me from making grave mistakes. (Get it? GRAVE...I write Vampires...nevermind.) She is my last line of defense between my mind and my readers and I can't thank her enough.

So today, I'd like to talk about a writer's responsibility to his/her editor. Your editor has a tough job. The worst job really. She has to take your baby, your book, your hard work...and tear it down until it is readable. She has to hit that send key and know you will be railing against her, bitching and moaning that she doesn't understand why your character would do that thing she is questioning. Well, if your editor doesn't get it...neither will your reader. If you don't explain it in the book, the person reading it cannot pull it out of your brain six months later when your book hits the shelf.

Fighting with your editor is a bad idea. She is almost always right. (I did say almost. A writer's first responsibility is to themselves, if they do not agree with the changes an editor wants to make that is their right...I'm referring to MOST cases. I do not expect any one to allow their editor to completely change a plot line or anything. Please do not get angry and scream at me that your editor is an idiot...mine is not and that is the only experience I have so shush.) In regards to word choices, accurate history requirements, and how many Tuesdays are in any given week, she has the upper hand in almost every case. And honestly, she is just trying to help you. She is saving you from future embarrassment on issues that WILL come back to bite you on the ass.

Now, as Anny so eloquently put it...the internet is forever. DO NOT...let me repeat that for you in the back DO NOT EVER slam your editor in email, on chat loops, on other people's blogs, you know what, keep your trap shut on the internet completely. In case you weren't aware let me be the first to inform you:

Your editor has the internet. They probably read your blogs. Their friends have the internet too and will like nothing better than to be able to call your editor and say "Oh my God did you see what your writer said on so and so's blog about her editor being nothing more than a baboon brandishing a stick?" Yeah, DO NOT EVER trash your editor.

Did you know that editors also talk to each other? Yup. And if you trash one...they will all know and your career could be over. Do you really want to end up at a desk job for the rest of your life because you didn't like your editor changing "Was going to" to "Would?" No, I don't think you do.

So there is just one more thing to keep in mind when making your decision to become a writer. Anny and Brynn have done a great job, and I can't wait to see what Cindy and James have to share with us. By the end of the week some of you may well be asking yourselves "Why would anyone want to be a writer?"

Because we are crazy. :D

Dakota Rebel


  1. Oh yeah. Definitely crazy. But not crazy enough to shoot our careers in the feet by saying bad things about our editors. Nope.

    I've been lucky to have a number of excellent editors. And one not so great one, but that was a one off, and need never be worried about again. Even the not so great one made my book more readable. The GOOD ones are goddesses who make my books MUCH better. Sometimes it's tough dealing with more than one, when they have different pet peeves, but it's worth it when you get a great review because they made you work to shine up your prose.

  2. Excellent blog. And yeah... they are goddesses. Write on.

  3. Have read all he commdnts on this subject and thoroughly agree with all of them.Sometimes when a reviewer completely misses the point of the book it's hard to take, but that had happened rarely to me. That one time I nearly came apart, though. However, like a good girl I thanked her. And as for editors, nobody, but NOBODY can beat Helen. Am so lucky to have her. Excellent subject for your blog ladies, and good blogs from all of you. AS usual. Jean

  4. I'm looking forward to the day I HAVE an editor!

  5. Great post Dakota. It's hard to hide anything on the Internet anymore and it's just not professional to bash anyone.

  6. Excellent points Dakota. We should definitely respect those people who make our books better. I too bow to Helen. She is the master.

  7. Great post, Dakota. Good points. I can't imagine life without great editors. Even if I had a bad one, badmouthing them publicly would never cross my mind. I cringe when I stumble across posts where authors do.


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