EDITS SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE A TRIP TO THE DENTIST

Editors are my partners in crime. I know this intellectually. But still, whenever I see edits sitting in my in-box, I must admit my stomach clenches. I instinctively brace for what’s to come.

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Some publishing houses are pretty intense. Others do a lighter edit. But they are all centered around pointing out how you did something wrong, or could do it differently. Just like the doctor with that damn tooth drill, no matter how much you floss and brush, the dentist always finds something you could have done better. Right? It’s the nature of the job.

But I also want to point out that I love my editors. LOVE them. Without them it would be a terrifying world. Sometimes I can’t believe the stuff they catch that I didn’t notice. I’ve accidentally changed the spelling of names, or mentioned someone is under twenty-one and then proceed to have them drinking wine at a restaurant. Hair colors change without warning. I would be lost without their watchful eyes. They protect me from myself. Plus, if you have a good editor they will give you positive feedback as well. I’ve been so fortunate to have great editors who encourage me and also enlighten me.teamwork

Every time I sell a story to a new publisher there’s a nervous anticipation until I meet the new editor. Will they get my voice? Will they understand my snarky humor? I’ve been so fortunate to have fantastic editors. We trade little funny comments back and forth. They make me laugh out loud a lot. I get a ton of strange looks from people who don’t understand why I’m guffawing at my computer.

The other side of the coin is editors are amazing in their ability to not take things personally. It’s such a relief to me that when I do disagree on something they don’t become offended. They are wonderful about accepting that we authors don’t always agree with them. I’m in awe of how beautifully they keep their egos in check. Editors discuss everything so rationally. It calms me because I know they will listen to my concerns, and not steam roll over me. That takes a special person to be able to do that.

I still remember my first edit. (I’m eyeballing you, Kathleen.)I had so much to learn. I still do. And I didn’t understand that many times editors are simply making suggestions. You don’t have to accept them. (Unless it’s house style or something non-negotiable. Like changing the capital of California to Santa Rosa because you think it’s prettier there than Sacramento.) In the beginning, I thought if an editor pointed something out I HAD to make the changes. That was definitely terrifying, and a bazillion times more stressful than it needed to be. Yes, a bazillion. You heard me. I’m grateful that my editors insist on how important it is for me to love my story. They encourage me to not make changes that will ruin the book for me.

I guess these feelings I have are normal. I like it when something is normal about me. No one likes to be corrected or criticized. Even when you know the other person is right. The more seasoned authors I talk with even get stressed when edits arrive in their in-boxes. That’s comforting to know. No matter how long you’ve been writing, or brushing your teeth, there will always be more to learn.

I’m glad I have my editors along to guide me. I’m thankful for Kathleen Calhoun, Sue Adams, KC and Elizabeth London for all they have taught me and continue to teach me. I’m so proud and happy to work with them. I’m secure in the knowledge that they have my back. I won’t make a fool of myself if they have anything to say about it. And luckily they do have lots to say about it.

I’m eternally grateful for my editors. I have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings toward them. I wish I could say the same about my dentist.

 

 

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Creativity is such an odd thing when examined.

 

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Every now and then it strikes me how odd us humans are. And I mean that in a good way.

We create books, songs and paintings and then we hold them out to others, much like Stuart from Mad TV, and we say “Look what I can do!” stuart-2

It’s such a funny thing really. I mean people will assemble and pay money to have others sing for them, or read to them. Humans love to be entertained. We need to hear the stories and see the pictures other humans dream up. It’s wonderful that there are the ones who need to express themselves and the ones who are interested in what others have to say. And the majority of us are probably a mixture of both.

These made up books, songs and movies actually make us cry, and laugh. The stories stick with us for days sometimes and we can’t shake that make believe world. I remember reading A Separate Peace as a teenager and I was depressed for days. But I loved that book and how it made me feel. Ordinary People did the same thing to me.

There are entire multi-million dollar industries based solely on people making up stories for others to enjoy. We pay some actors millions of dollars to pretend to be someone else just so we can experience the moment with them. We re-read and re-watch movies over and over, wanting to feel those initial emotions from the first time all over again. Humans crave this hijacking of our brains. Cats…they like to play with string. Dogs like to chase balls. Humans? We’ll pay good money just to be dragged away from reality for an hour.

Strange as creativity seems to me sometimes, I’m so thankful for it. I’m honored to experience other peoples stories and songs. I’m so happy that I get to share my thoughts and emotions through my characters. It’s cathartic, and fulfilling and it feeds something deep inside me that nothing else could.

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