By J. f. Lewis
Almost everyone has heard the song “Don’t Stop Believe’n”. And there are many days that is what writing is all about. If you’re a Pantser, like me, you believe that all the little things you are writing, the seeds you are planting in the plot will grow together like topiary magic into a cohesive sculpture. And the more you do it, the more confident you become. You start to see patterns and trust that those vague ideas about how the story will end are right and that the theme of the novel will be what you think it is going to be… And if they don’t, then you will fix it and shape it and prune it in the second draft until it is a shiny new novel ready to have your editor point out the flaws you’ve missed so you can fix them, too… At which point the copyeditor will catch things you and your editor both missed (or meant to look up and double-check later) and then the readers will continue to think you, the author, are super cool and smarter than you actually are.
But it takes a lot of faith, trust, and pixie dust to get there.
And speaking of flying and editors… Editors, good ones, are kind of like half of a flying trapeze artist act. In the act, there are two performers: the flyer and the catcher. I think the writer and the editor change up roles from time to time, but usually the writer gets to be the one performing the cool tricks and the editor makes sure that they don’t fall. There is a lot of trust. If the relationship is a good one, it starts to feel like a team. When you meet at conventions there may not even be much shop talk at all, it’s about keeping touch and maintaining the relationship.
All the changes I’ve spoken about on various blogs were events in the past or a process about which I had an idea how it would end: Fan mail… Hate mail… Good reviews… Bade reviews… Getting kicked out of one church… Being welcomed into a new one… I’ve rarely spoken about a process that was still underway.
All my Void City books have been edited by the same wonderful editor. She has a really cool job opportunity and has chosen to take it. I wish her well and am totally excited for her. But I’m getting a new partner in crime and I haven’t met them yet. I’m looking forward to it, though. I’m hopeful, but I’ll admit there are a certain amount of “blind date” jitters. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck. Does this prose make me look fat? 😉