Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Editors from hell: A writer's true story

Editors from hell…

Oh yeah…I've got a story about one. First up let me say that I know I need editing. Only a dipstick writer thinks they don’t. My editor from hell story? Let’s call her Susie-Lou Finkleheimer-Wong.  My apologies to any Finkleheimer-Wongs out there. Anyway, Susie-Lou knew bugger all about editing. She was – probably still is – a writer. It’s always a bloody awful sign when you are stuck with a writer-editor-know-it-all. So this chick started out all over-the-top gushy and friendly and my spidey-sense was immediately on alert. She wanted us to be friends and be all happy-faced and I think if you start a professional relationship like that – and editors and writers have to be professional or they’re screwed and phrases like ‘bitch-hell-spawn’ or ‘anal psycho cow-faced twat’ are not conducive professional, business etiquette – then you’re screwed. 

The first edits I got back were fascinating. All the words Susie-Lou hated like ‘that’, ’was’, ‘and’, ‘as’ and ‘the’ had all been changed to bold red capitalized text and I was instructed by the psychotic Bride of Chucky to change every single one of them and use ‘different words’. Uh-huh. I indicated the stupidity of this request and may have inferred she was on hallucinogenic drugs. Several dozen unproductive emails back and forward resulted in her becoming scarily like a drunk Mrs Brady and me emailing the publisher and demanding that I required an editor who did not have her brains in her left armpit. I got another editor.

The moral of the story. It is your story. You wrote it. Accept advice that makes sense and avoid Finkleheimer-Wongs. 

Amarinda Jones


Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Amarinda makes a very important point here. Your editor is not your friend, your mother, or your coach. The writer/editor relationship is a strictly professional one designed to help you, the writer, polish your story and make it shine. Not rewrite it. Not change all your words. Polish it.

Amarinda Jones said...

Correct. Go into the relationship as a business and no one loses an eye

Sandra Cox said...

'Accept advice that makes sense'...yes indeedy.

anny cook said...

Choose your battles. Don't argue over the placement of a comma unless it truly changes the total sense of the sentence. Yeah.

But I remember that editor. You're right. She was over the top.