Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot...

It really is true when they say editors love their babies. Or least, are invested in their babies. One of my stories got a wonderful, feel-good, glowing diamond of a review which focused on--omg, how wonderfully the emotions came across (publishing takes such a long time, the stuff I've worked on has finally started to trickle into the market). It was a Hallmark moment. I felt...I dunno, good. "I" did that.

The author, on the other hand--was the biggest jerk in the world. Passive-aggressive, unwilling to do the work, she complained from the day we started edits to the day--many months later, when we finally wrapped up. Along the way, she hated each and every one of my suggestions, kept changing her comma placement, and no matter what I did, refused to understand that no matter what she visualized up in her head, real people don't use ten dollar multi-word phrases for something that can easily be summed up in a one cent desk-slammer. To be fair--I've had that problem more than once, and it's made me very leery of people who use their "I took a creative writing workshop" skills.

Someone asked me--hey, I couldn't "not" boast--when I was going to buy the author's next story, and it stopped me dead.

I'm not.

Unless she pulls a Diana Galabon, the time I put in, the raging headaches and sheer effort of pulling this nasty woman, kicking and screaming, nails sunk into the floor, through multiple edits simply wasn't worth it. It was an okay story, but what made it really stand out was it's potential.

Unfortunately, because of her background--the creative writing courses, a couple of magazine articles, friends who patted her on the back, and an over-inflated sense of self-worth, the author thought she was done. All I had to do was publish her Pulitzer prize winning opus.

To sum up her insular world-view, she capped it off by patronizing my boss.

Talk about burning your bridges. Like I tell my kids, even if you hate a job--don't tell them where to go unless you don't want to work there anymore.

I'm not sure what to think--I've had some really wonderful experiences. Some authors are simply a joy--they listen, ask questions (you know, so we can work through things, 'cause I'm not always right and it really is a partnership) do the job, and are always professional. And by professional I don't mean they grovel--I simply mean they don't blast my suggestions as stupid, remove track changes and change the manuscript back to the way it was submitted, hate this--hate that, and then get upset when I repeat myself.

All things considered? There are other people with stories just as good.

9 comments:

Eva Gale said...

*places roses and wine down and slowly, backs out of room*

Kaige said...

Yikes. Sorry you had to deal with that. May all your other authors never approach this level of irritation for you!

deanna said...

Working with an editor is one of the best parts of writing for me. I may not get a lot of things, but I understand the partnership aspect. An editor gets the writing out there the way it should be, by helping the author continue the process...congratulations to you for hanging in there with ms. clueless and making "her" book a good one.

Jeanna said...

Kept changing her comma placement hell I'd let you put commas where the hell ever you wanted if it saved me checking a style book which I know I should not have to do at this point but I know it's my weak spot God I hate editing I mean as long as it doesn't change the meaning or screw with the rhythm I once drove a professor insane by misspelling "rhythm" over and over again in a term paper

jodi said...

lol, E/Bri, you don't have to run--I'm done venting.

Kaige--if it wasn't for the question of whether I'd buy another story from this person again, I'd have let it all fade away until another story hit my inbox (it probably would have snapped out then, lol...)

Deanna--you're a sweetie, and I think you'd be one of the "joy" authors.

Jeanna? Did you notice you ryhme (yes, I spelt it wrong) with Deanna--kinda sorta??

You always make me laugh, I love your worldview--why the hell couldn't I think to do that with my horrible English teacher in college?

my word today is thysuck--*snort*

really

Alice Audrey said...

I still vividly recall meeting a published author at a convention who acted like she'd never been published. She talked about editors, agents, and publishers in the same hopeful/sad tones and carried the same lack of personal knowledge as the rest of us. Apparently she'd done a prima dona on her editor and got black listed. I have been very careful to keep humble ever since.

Well, I try anyway.

Jeanna said...

Did we all have horrible English teachers in college? I had my share, but I also had some damn good ones. I don't know if it helps or not if they're published writers.
Oh, yes, I can give you many ways to drive someone nuts.
If "Deanna" is pronouned Dee nah, then yes, we do. (Jeanna = Gina)
You did NOT get such a great word ver?
I was just thinking I should write down all the good ones and just make a list. Like now, it's jigrat.
Ji think that's not such a grat idea, but ji think it fills white space.

Unhinged said...

I'm with Deanna and the partnership aspect thing. It still blows my mind that anyone wouldn't want to make their work as good as it can be. Of course, my mind is blown all the time. I'm surprised I have anything at all left up there.

liana laverentz said...

Congratulations on getting your story out--and congratulations on getting a great review In Spite Of your recalcitrant author. You go, girl!

Slalph! (my word verification today)