From the desk of W. J. Onufer…
While waiting for the pending release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, the next Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, I’ve been working on some Hadley short stories. Those short stories can be heard in a free listen on our Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Narrated Story Collection on our Mixcloud page.
This after noon I got together with with my Editor, Christine Piesyk, on Skype. She in Clarksville, Tenn. and me in Chicopee, Mass. (Both in the USA) I had two short stories done and we shared screen to look over them for an edit.
Now I’m used to getting a little beat up by Christine in any editing session. Frankly, I count on her to do that. The longer amount of time that I write, the less that happens. It doesn’t matter how good a writer thinks their stuff is, a good Editor can always improve it. And by now, I’m sort of used to the doses of humilty- to a lesser or great degree -that Christine gives me when we edit my stuff.
But oh man, did Christine slap me around really good on one of those two short stories! She make huge changes. No, she didn’t change the story plot. But she did change how the story was told. It all felt like years ago, when I was first starting out and Christine edited the hell out of everything I wrote. Christine isn’t just my Editor, she and I are also decades-long friends and she was along with me back then. But now, I’m an author who is about the release his 4th novel. I should be past all that new-bie stuff, right?
Not so. Christine made extensive changes to my first draft manuscript of that short story. We actually got to the point where she was writing stuff to add into it. She never does that. In our edits she may change my words, but they’re MY words. She added stuff that were her words. Her original sentences. And I couldn’t deny that her words made the telling of the story so much better. Before we were even done, I told her that I would share the byline on this. Yes, her original writing made that much of a difference and I simple had to give credit where credit is due.
So I was a battered writer who’s ego took a huge hit when we went to edit the second of the two short stories. I was ready for further abuse. Was I getting too cocky thinking that I could just throw some words down and a great story would just happen? I was concerned that I may have gotten to that point. I was concerned that I was starting to write garbage and didn’t know it.
But after a quick look through on my second short story- which lasted about fifteen minutes, a much lesser amount of time than the first – Christine said, “This isn’t half bad.” Allow me to translate that from Editor-Speak. It mean: “This is a good story, well written.” We breezed through that second short story with minimal changes. Humility accepted. Ego on the mend. Single byline intact.
This proved to me, that while I am, in fact, an author about to release his 4th novel, I am still capable of writing garbage. It’s a reminder to keep the cockyness in check. Don’t get sloppy.
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