Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Write Corrected

Hard as it is to admit, I need mondo editing. Yeah yeah yeah, I know very well I'm not perfect. But when you write a character, flawed as they are, you want to think they are. I know that sounds weird, but it's true. I don't want a character who never makes a mistake, how boring, how icky. I'd hate him or her and would want to kill them by the second page if you must know. Villains are the only perfect characters, and they are the only ones who see themselves as such because they're crazier than a cracker jack.

**Author Note: Hey now, I know I'm nuts! But I also know I'm not perfect, I'm just the regular garden variety sort of crazy, not that take over the world kind. Let's call me lazy crazy, okay? This means, I won't take over the world, but if someone hands it to me, I'll say, "Thank yall!" and make Hugh Jackman my pool boy. Lazy crazy like a fox in other words *drool*

Fantasies of unlikely world and even unlikelier hunky Aussie domination aside, it's bad enough writing the stupid sucksnotsissy (yuckamundo). Then you have to get your courage up to submit the darned thing. After that, you wait.. and wait.. and wait.. and finally just when you think they hate it. They. Say. Yes! And all is right with the world. Birds sing. Flowers bloom. Author squeals in happy delight. Life is a wonderful thing. Chocolate pales beside being accepted. Wait a dang minute, let's not go too far. Hmm.

Then horror of horrors, you get a file marked edits. You open it and discover that you may very well suck some serious eggs. Now, I'm not talking terrible, not really. But when it's your work, it seems like it. This creation that you slaved over for an eternity, polishing, honing, fixing this world you lived inside, with people you know better than you know some of your own family members--and better than I want to know some of mine--is being criticized by someone who is logical, critical and objective. Hooray for the readers!! Boohoo for your ego. *sniffles*

For a long time I belonged to a group where we jokingly (or not so, in my case) called author Sheri Kenyon the AG--Author Goddess. Now that I write something other than a post or two, I understand that better. She is a goddess because what she writes is divine, however, she also creates a world that's hers alone, though she's gracious enough to share it with so many in that fanfic group.

I've finally figured out that I too I make a world where my characters live. I'm not divine in any sense of the word, or if I am, I'm more along the lines of a Bitch Goddess Supreme, needy, crazy, and er.. a bit sadistic. I'll strip whole scenes and replace them at a minute's notice. I put my characters in the worse scenarios, snickering with glee as I go for the laugh almost every time. I'm the Jokester, the Prankster, the Trickster from Hell. I don't care who knows it either. It's my nature to do what I want, when I want.

But show me edits and I instantly regress to a second grader with my most scary teacher ever. I cringe at the sight of red marks. I quail at all the highlighted words that mean I'm a repeat offender, using the same words again and again. Don't get me started on the comment balloons. I've gone from Bitch Goddess to a postulant in two seconds flat, that's gotta be a record, right?

However, there's something to be learned from all this, besides a lesson in humility, grammar and dear Lord in Literary Heaven, save me from freakin tags please! Never underestimate your editors. They'll keep you from looking like a complete and utter goober. Look at my blog for instance. Nobody edits this thing but me and it shows.

My publisher once joked that I should worship my editor as she saves my ass from the fires of error hell.. I snickered and told her I'd be properly respectful. But what she said is true. They catch stupid mistakes. I'm a writer, not an editor. Creation is a chaotic event. I love my characters which is how it's supposed to be, if I didn't love them, the reader wouldn't either. But as we all know love is a very messy business and editors get the unenviable job of cleaning up an author's work. Artistic temperament anyone?

I don't whine, (out loud) my mouth is too full of therapeutic chocolate to do something so childish. But with all those red pen marks all over the place it makes me feel like I got an F on my report card. I expect my mother to come in at any minute and take away my television as punishment.

So, salute your editor.. worship them Set up altars, eat chocolate in their names. Whatever gets you through the process of doing exactly what they tell you to do. Because they know what they're doing. In the immortal words of my mommy. "This hurts me more than it hurts you, dear. " I highly doubt that, but I'm using that phrase and hella coffee to get through it all. Ohmmm.

Blue Bayou Babe,

PS: Yes, the picture of Hugh is there to cheer me up, and yes, it is working.

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