Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away … I wrote a love letter to editors.
You can read it here: The evil secret to ALL WRITING – editing is everything
And in that post, I called editor Theresa Stevens “a glowing, mystical being.”
Now, it is true that Theresa the Stevens is a professional editor of novels, and her red pen is wickedly sharp.
HOWEVER, you don’t go straight from “editor of novels and former literary agent” to “glowing, mystical being.” It takes a couple of paragraphs to get that far. In fact, these paragraphs:
If you really want to write for monies, and pay the mortgage doing it, you’ve got to go all in with an editor who wields their Red Pen of Doom for monies, too. Not your husband or wife or best friend. Not a coworker. Not a friend who also writes something sort of close to what you’re doing, even if they write for monies. You need somebody who edits for cash.
It’s an achy breaky big mistakey to use a non-pro as your editor. Friends and family may be great readers of books but horrible at editing. Either way, you’ll take what they say far too personally.
Dreams will be crushed. Friendships will fray. Marriages will sour. DO NOT DO THIS.
Even if you’re friends with somebody who writes for a living, and they say sure, they’ll edit you as a favor, that might be OK for one small piece. A short story. Your first shot at a stump speech. But not anything of length. And not as a habit. When you start cashing checks for what you write, stop being a freeloader. Set your friend free. Better yet, don’t lean on the friend too much in the first place. Because they’re your friend. They won’t tell you if you truly stink up the joint.
Think about how long it takes a human being to write and rewrite and rewrite a novel and synopsis and query letter. Hundreds of hours. Bazillions. Think about paying yourself minimum wage for those hours. Then close your eyes and imagine there’s a glowing mystical being who, for the price of the complete first and second seasons of The Jersey Shore on DVD, could save yourself hundreds of more hours of pain while making you (a) seem incredibly brilliant and (b) have ten times the shot of not only getting the damn thing published, but making decent money at it.
I’ve been writing for monies for a long time, and I’ve had all kinds of editors. Good ones, average ones — and a few amazing ones. Theresa the Stevens is a treasure of an editor.
So, writers of the world: go to Theresa’s blog to soak up her wisdom, and follow her on the Twitter, because she is funny there.
Bloggity blog goodness: http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/
Show her that the series of tubes isn’t full of trolls, and that we writers know a good thing — especially a Glowing Mystical Being — when we see it.