Monday, September 15, 2008

Letting Go-- Don't Let Your Hag Gorge

When do you stop the self-edits? I can't answer that all-important question. There is no clear definitive point when "tweaking" becomes destruction.

I highly recommend finding and using your own self-editing system and then learning to trust that system to catch most of your mistakes. Go through it once, maybe twice, and no more. Learn when to say No.

Then --and this is a big lesson to learn-- learn to trust your editor. Editors hired by reputable publishers are there to look at your self-edited work and take it to the next level, serving as a pair of fresh, unprejudiced eyes. That's what he/she is there for.

Learning to trust an editor is very similar to learning to work with wild animals. The burden is on you to get them to trust you, and you have to earn it. Get over yourself, because nothing will change the fact that they have the power when it comes to getting your work published. Turn in your work on time, communicate often, and be willing to work.

You may be the goose that lays the golden eggs, but there are thousands of geese and damn few cushy nests. All those other geese want your nest, and if you make too much trouble, the nest gets a new resident. Divas don't last, so don't think you can get away with demands. You don't. Period.

I've ranged from outright adoration to teeth-gritted courtesy with my editors. Most of the editors I've worked with wanted to establish that level of trust. The more we communicated, the more we achieved that balance. Only once could I not manage to communicate with that editor well enough to establish a working relationship in well over a year of attempts. Suffice it to say, I have not submitted anything else to that editor.

So let's recap. Learn to let go and give it to the professionals to do their job. You know it's not perfect, but you've cleared up what you could find. Now let them make it perfect.

Move along, you have more golden eggs to lay.

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