masochist, OC editors, rewrites, and days off


I can’t believe I’m about to say it, but – I have all the deadly, short term deadlines met.  All of them. How about that!


And, I actually have something to post about today – a comment that came from my yahoo site about the compassion of editors, or lack thereof. It was very tongue in cheek and started by my observation that a certain developmental editor (book doctor) was very OC.  One of the members asked what that what meant, another member said it (hopefully) meant overly compassionate.


For the purpose of this blog:

OC – obsessive compulsive, a very good trait in an editor.

AR – anal retentive, a difficult trait in an editor as they can be pretty hard to satisfy. Yes you can make up your own jokes from these. I won’t help you, however. <grins>


Compassion? Not a good trait. Not at all. The last thing I want in an editor is someone who is afraid to hurt my feelings. I want someone who believes in me, in my work, and in my future, and is willing to push me to my limits without remorse. I *want* my editor to be rough and tough and mean and gruff. (Isn’t there a childhood rhyme about that?) I want her to point out my failings and the failings in my story. I want her free to be (and do) all that. Okay – she can feel sorry that she hurt me, and pity my whimpers, but she must not be afraid to rip me a new one with every manuscript.


Why? If I screw up, the readers will either hate me, abandon me, or laugh at me, and not buy the book and will post bad reviews. I’d rather my editor be ruthless than the readers. I’d rather she be totally OC.


That is one reason (the biggest one) that my muse is so oddball and ugly. That is the reason why he carries a whip and isn’t afraid to use it. That is also the reason why I sometimes sit down and have a good girly cry over a rewrite letter. It’s tough being abused. It would be tougher being dropped from a publisher’s list.


So, yesterday – which was a long rainy day, the perfect dreary kind that makes me want to curl up with a book (or a hobby) and play – I took off all day, made jewelry, and let my mind float free. Not that I was *totally* not writing. Because I’m OC too. I admit that my mind floated into the planning of my next proposal. I couldn’t help it. I’m just built that way. And…sigh…I’ll get another rewrite letter in a week, and I need to have the proposal done before that time so I can concentrate on the rewrite letter, have a girly cry, then settle down to the pleasant-horrid labor of rewriting. Gah… The (hopefully) never ending cycle of a writer’s life. 


This single day of mental vacation was intended to set my own OC mind free so that I can finish the proposal and be clearheaded to work through all the manuscript changes that will surely come, even though my new editor looks sweet and kind and young enough to be my own kid and looks totally not OC. In a good editor, looks can be deceiving. And probably, hopefully, are. I hope she will be a slash-and-burn kinda gal. And whip me and my manuscript into shape. Yeah. I am an *OC Masochist*. For me, that’s just another term for writer.



3 comments to masochist, OC editors, rewrites, and days off

  • Having a good editor who really tears into a manuscript is so very important. Books are huge — they take a long time to write, particularly when compared with the amount of time it takes someone to read the final product. It’s like cooking a great meal. The preparation can take hours — eating it mere moments. But if you get even one ingredient wrong, the whole thing can go to hell. In the same way, writing a book is a long, intensive process, and though we deal on a scale of tens of thousands of words, a bad section of a few hundred words can do irreparable damage to the overall effect. And writers can’t always spot their own mistakes. A good editor recognizes what’s good and pinpoints what needs fixing. Yeah, those revision letters can hurt. But ultimately they can make a good book great and a great book super.

    Terrific post, Faith.

  • Faith said, “Yeah. I am an *OC Masochist*.”

    Not me – I’m in this for the money and fame. So when do I get to hang out on the Riviera with Johnny Depp?

    *grins, ducks and runs away*

  • *makes a snorting noise through nose>

    David, how’s this for errors. My darling hubby just caught a possibly huge mistake in the book (one word) after I sent it in. My paddling coach tought us a stroke he called the Dufect, named after some French paddler. He spelled it for us and everything. I used it in the book. Except it’s really Duffek, named for Milo Duffek, a member of the Czechoslovakian national whitewater slalom team. I just emailed the change to my editor and I *hope* it makes the cut.

    Misty, me too…with the exception of sex scenes which I have never been able to write and make them believable. Except for that, I have oft claimed that I am the total literary slut. I write for the money. Huge checks with lots of zeros. Yeah. Right.