From the desk of W. J. Onufer…
A question for all the writers. Which is more challenging- when your Editor makes a lot changes to your first draft…or when they make minimal changes?
My Editor, Christine Piesyk, lives in Clarksville, Tenn. I live in Chicopee, Mass. We edit anything I write together. When I make the trip to Clarksville, we do that together, in the same room, line-by-line. But most editing is done via share screen on Skype.
I mention that, because, this past weekend. Christine took a lookee-see at a short story I wrote, again via Skype. Christine and I go way back. She is, in the very real sense, my writing mentor. Now she’s my Editor. In all the highs and lows of putting out the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books since the first one came out in 2015, Christine has been with me for the whole strange trip that it’s been. That means, early on, she’s seen my writing when it’s needed…help. And over the years my writing has improved- mostly because of the doses of humillity Christine has issued me in that time.
It’s not fun but I’m sort of used to those doses of humillity by now. I’m used to Christine pointing out stuff that needs to be rewritten, chopped-out entirely and sometimes, simply trashed and start over. She gives it to me straight when something is working and when it isn’t. And frankly, I count on her for that. We’ve gotten to the point, however, where I get it right more times than not now. Christine didn’t change anything in that short story this weekend. She did correct some spelling. (I’m a writer not a speller.) But no revisions. No rewrites. No moving copy around.
And that, my writer fiends, is more challenging than when Christine goes up one side and down the other on me, on all the things I get wrong. It’s a mini-freak-out of the most enjoyable kind. I got it right? All of it? Seriously?
The only thing more challenging than failure, is success.
I really don’t have any excuse for producing crappy writing. But i’m sure if I do, Christine will let me know.
What has your experience been in this reguard? Which is more challenging- the ego-crushing corrections of your Editor…or the scary new expectations of having to maintain that new level of writing quality when your Editor’s red pen appears less frequently?