Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Editor (aka the ego crusher, the pulverizer or the ass-kicker)

So I sent the piece of bad writing (this fanfic I’ve been babbling on about) to an editor. Why? I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be published for real – not until a myriad of copyright laws and proprietary ownership laws change. But I sent it off for several reasons.

One – I did work really hard on it, so I didn’t just want it to end its life as a 250k file taking up space on my hard drive, never to see the light of day except in between the candles of my mind.

Two – I wanted to see if I could go through the entire editorial process again. I believe I mentioned previously that I had sent my first novel to a “professional” editor to review, only to be crushed and devastated by the whole experience, resulting in two bankers boxes worth of binders currently sitting in my basement storage. I wanted to know, I needed to know, if it would be different this time, or if all editors are just cruel harpies (or whatever the male equivalent of a harpy is – my editors have both been female) who tear apart a writer’s magnum opus as if it were nothing more than carrion laying waste in the middle of the cracked ground of the desert.

And Three – what would happen if (gasp) the piece I had written might even be salvageable, nay, publishable (to the extent that free use/creative commons allows for the non-profit publication of such works on the internet). I needed to know that it wasn’t a complete piece of shit. Vindication. Assurance. Gratification. The same reason why chefs put tiny pea shoots on an appetizer plate that go up your nose but everyone still coos over the aesthetic of the plate. “Oh isn’t that divine?” THAT gasp.

Where was I? Oh right – sent piece off to the editor. And waited. And waited. And waited. It wasn’t really that long, but I did get impatient and then felt guilty that I was impatient. After all, this poor lady was reviewing my (potentially POS) piece for free. When I sent off my novel to be edited just about a decade ago, I wasted $200.00 for someone to dump my ego into the sewer. I have done, can do, and could continue to do that fine all on my own, thank you very much.

The editor came back and told me that my piece was pretty good. I need to fix some things – those parts where I ramble on endlessly without a point, for example. And her criticism was very professional. Not mean-spirited. Not motivated from a career otherwise wasted. Not “What the hell are you doing with this piece of crap?” (comments from the previous editor on the previous piece. I should dig up what she said because it was highly more elegantly stated than that, but at the end of the day the sentence was still the same.) 

I was overjoyed. But, like most skeptical and cynical people, I had to get a second opinion. And the second opinion (so far) appears to agree with the first.

So I’ve tidied it up, and then, I may even post it somewhere. And if so, I’ll let you know where. So you can all flame it and bring my highly-inflated ego back down to earth. Or maybe you'll even like it...

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