If you write, you have pals who write, and you’ve received emails regarding your pals’ editors. If you’re an editor, you’ve written other editors (or trusted writer friends) to complain about a writer. It’s a yin/yang thing, for sure, this hate-love relationship that can turn to hate-hate or love-love.
I’ve had maybe ten editors in three years, several of them very skilled. All of them seemed devoted to what they do. They inevitably provide advice along the lines of “don’t take edits personally” or “your editor is your friend, responsible for watching your back and that of the company.” So far so good. I love edits, seeing my mistakes whisked away by someone more in tune with my native tongue. I’m less fond of questions that make me scratch my head and require a new timeline, etc. Again, that’s their job–you screwed up, not them.
So, our job as authors is to accept the guidance, correction, and help in a gracious and willing fashion. Recently, though, the same thing happened on two different manuscripts–a compliment. “Good line.” “I love this line.” Two different editors. I sat back in my chair and beamed. Then I thought, “wow, that never happens!” Why?
I think editors assume that an author knows that because a manuscript was accepted, it’s a decent story. For me, one little comment past that can go a long, long way. Okay, I know we’re not children, and shouldn’t need pats on the back. But we’re human, and perhaps too fragile.
I don’t want an editor to tell me a stinker is good. But editors, if a line makes you smile, or you think an author hit a character just right–say so! It makes a huge difference, and goes a long way to soften all the work on the stinky stuff. Snarky comments aren’t welcome. The “My god, you’re wearing this phrase out,” or “the punctuation store called, they want their exclamation points back,” don’t work well.
That said, do you compliment your editor on their work?