Real Live Editors

I met my editor! She is a real person! Not a computer algorithm or a heuristic writing/editing program!

I was in California for a week and I thought I would actually go over my latest book, Desperate Druggie, with my editor, Tara Maya in person. “I have too many edits to simply discuss them on the phone,” she had said, using that sweet motherly voice that told me that I was in deep trouble.

“How many corrections?” I asked.

“It’s not a question of how many corrections. It’s what you have to correct.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What do I have to correct?”

“Let’s start with characters. Look at some of the most successful writers. When they introduce a character, they give the reader something by which to remember the character. The man with the hook nose…the old woman, whose gnarled face was like weathered bark, peeked out from her severely hunched back. Things like that.”

“Oh, I can do that.”

“I’m sure you can. The secret of being a good writer is DOING it. Consistently. And remember, for major characters, you might want a persistent behavioral characteristic that reminds the reader of that person. Didn’t I tell you this in Book One?”

There is one problem with meeting your editor in person. You can’t put her on speaker and browse Pinterest for cute cat pictures when you’re talking to her. On the other hand, you can learn a lot by listening to your editor…whether you meet her in person or just speak on the phone. And the more I listened, the more I learned.

It pays to meet your editor. It pays even more to pay attention to what she says.

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