Perception is Everything
My agent, whom I have promised to stop calling Darth Vader, recently returned an edited manuscript copy of my latest writing project. He did it the old fashioned way, it was a printed copy liberally scribbled-upon and covered with FLYNs (effing little yellow notes). The whole mess was accompanied by a three page letter outlining in detail my crimes against literature.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. A bit.
Anyway, on such occasions, I have found it constructive to wait a few days before diving in, because without the correct frame of mind and the willingness to do the work I will not be able to atone for my sins, which are generally related to plot, or the lack thereof. This time around I decided to change things up a bit, so I showed the edited copy to a friend of mine, also a writer, first, because I value his opinion, and second, because he’d already read the work in question and he’d had generally positive things to say about it.
Moral support, don’t you know.
My friend read the letter first, then thumbed through the manuscript, looking at all the Flyns. And when he was all done he handed it back to me. “Wow,” he said. “This is great.”
Not what I expected.
Bastard. Whose side was he on?
“No, it’s really great,” he said. “And I agree with him on almost all of this, by the way.” Then he told me about his own recent experience with his editor, who had done nothing much, really, except to complain about his deficiencies in spelling, punctuation, and other such inanities. What he wanted from his editor, and what he thought I should want from mine, is an informed and objective review on what he’d done wrong, what he’d done right, and some thoughts on how to improve, which is pretty much what I’d gotten from the aforementioned Mr. Vader.
My attitudes still need work.