>It’s a strange experience being on the other side of the editorial red pen.
I’m happy to say that I have a tentative acceptance for a short novella, pending some fairly minor revisions to bulk up some backstory. The editors and I discussed a few different possibilities for how to approach the changes, and I’ve started the necessary work.
I have plenty of experience with beta readers in fanfic writing, but in that case, the author always has final word on what to accept and what to reject. Not so with professional publication, where the editors hold the cards.
My “day job” for years has been editing, so I’m used to managing publications from that side of the table. I don’t have much experience from the author’s side. In fact, this would be my first fiction publication if it goes through. Now, needless to say, I’m very excited about all of this, but it’s definitely a new experience for me! I hope I handle it well. I’d hate to lose out on the opportunity because of some newbie error.
>I’m in the midst of editing a novel for an online friend. Only trouble is, it’s not my type of story. It’s fantasy, which I’ve read at times but which I tend to find overwrought and overly descriptive. Still, I can recognize that my friend’s done a good job avoiding the annoying parts of the genre while still staying true to the core. And I can edit almost anything for basic style, grammar, and sense, which is mainly what she wanted from me anyway.
This brings up some interesting questions. My “day job” consists of technical editing, and I’ve worked as a writer and editor in a number of different areas over the years: newspaper, magazines and journals, public relations. I’ve learnd two primary lessons—I don’t want to write for someone else for a living (because then I lose interest in writing for myself), and I don’t want to work with any subject matter that holds no interest for me, as writer or editor.
My current writing is gay romance. This is a spinoff from fan fiction I’ve written recently, but I’ve written fanfic in the past without crossing over into original fiction. I’ve tried, but it’s never worked for me. I’m not really sure what made the difference this time. I’m also writing much longer stories now than I did previously.
For those of you who are writers or editors, do you stick with a specific genre, subject matter, even length? If so, how did you get started working with that type of material? How much do you experiment outside your usual “comfort” range? Have you ever tried something new and loved it? Tried something new and found it just didn’t work for you? What do you think it is that makes the difference?
>I’ve just send in my second-ever fiction submission (not counting a handful of drabbles published in a long-defunct webzine). The first submission came many years ago, when I knew much less about writing and publishing than I do now. I chose an inappropriate market and didn’t put enough effort into editing, so naturally, it was rejected.
Everyone knows that rejection is difficult. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life for an author, especially one who’s just testing the waters. It’s easy enough to find suggestions and recommendations for ways to improve the odds of success, but much harder to implement them. Writing workshops, critique groups, “beta” readers, professional editing; at what point does it become too much? When do you reach a point of diminishing returns?
The story I’ve just submitted was originally written as fanfiction, which means that it’s been edited and read in a different form already. For that reason, I chose not to go through the workshop/critique whirlwind this time, ready to accept a rejection if it comes. Call it impatience, but at this point, I’d rather expend the energy on stories that aren’t yet completed. If this submission is rejected, then I’ll decide whether to put in the additional effort to try again.
Eventually, I’ll probably also return to that first story and give it more polish than it had on the first try. It’s a learning process, and I’m fully willing to admit that I’m still a rank beginner.