Letters to My Editor: What’s Happening in 2016

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

It’s the last week of 2015, and thus ends our regular weekly letters. But subscribe to Jessie’s blog and here at Long Story Short to receive future reunions of Letters to My Editor!

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1This week’s letter from Jessie, “What’s Happening in 2016,” can be found over on Romancing a Blog.

 

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Letters to My Editor: In Search of Balance

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

Welcome to Letters to My Editor. She writes to me one week on her blog. I reply the next on mine. Mayhem just might ensue.

Click here to read Jessie’s most recent letter.

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1Dear Jessie,

It’s hard to believe that today marks the penultimate Monday of 2015 and, even weirder, my last letter to you in this series. For now, at least. I’ve enjoyed our letters so much, and I’m grateful to you and our readers for the experience. Here’s looking forward to future LTME reunions!

Over the years, I’ve been working on slowing down, being mindful, and letting go of the pressure to meet a prescribed criteria for the holiday season. It’s a work in progress. Keeping a balance between responsibilities and the break in routine presents one of the biggest challenges to this effort. Either I get caught up in doing too much and drown out every last ounce of holiday cheer, or I embrace the chance to breathe but feel a massive disconnect that derails my return to work in the new year. I want to start 2016 off feeling inspired, refreshed, and excited instead of disoriented, drained, and listless. January through March is a gray enough time in Indiana as it is; I don’t need to sabotage my productivity as well.

I have two favorite and simple tools for finding this balance when travel plans and wintertime festivities take over my schedule: a pocket-sized notebook and a watch. These two combined let me leave my electronics behind. With the time on my wrist and only pen and paper to hand, it’s a lot harder to get sucked into answering emails or checking social media.  I can jot down to-do lists, questions that bounce around my head, and especially, ideas that spring from the hilarity or crisis of the holiday dinner table (a truly terrifying thing to admit since, on occasion, a family member reads my blog). With less screen time, I’m more present with loved ones, but I also feel responsible and successfully accountable to my work by writing things down for future reference.

I’m curious: what do you do around this time of year to keep your creativity flowing in the midst of celebration and obligation? And what is 2016 bringing your way?

Best,

K

Subscribe to Romancing a Blog for Jessie’s latest posts and to Long Story Short for mine!

Letters to My Editor: I Second That #NaNoWriMo

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

Welcome to Letters to My Editor. She writes to me one week on her blog. I reply the next on mine. Mayhem just might ensue.

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1

This week’s letter from Jessie, “I Second That NaNoWriMo,” can be found over on Romancing a Blog.

Don’t miss my reply next week here at Long Story Short. Subscribe today!

Letters to My Editor: First Do Nothing

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

Welcome to Letters to My Editor. She writes to me one week on her blog. I reply the next on mine. Mayhem just might ensue.

Click here to read Jessie’s most recent letter.

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1Dear Jessie,

November is over, and huge congrats are due to all WriMos! Writing (or even just starting) a 50,000 word draft is a big deal, and you’re absolutely right; it should definitely be celebrated!

As to what happens next, a common pitfall I see is an author rushing to submit or publish a draft. So, the first step to continuing on with your NaNo manuscript is to do nothing. Sit on it for a good long while. Yes, it can be tricky to return to it without the initial momentum, but taking a break can bring a more objective and refreshed eye to the early stages of editing.

When you do revisit your manuscript, try sharing it with someone. Find a trusted friend to read it along with you. This serves two purposes: it keeps you accountable so you don’t fizzle out after a chapter or two (I speak from experience on that count), and you’ll have access to first impressions that aren’t coming from a brain in which the world of your story already exists. There are even editors (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) you can hire to read your manuscript and give direction and focus for your adventures in revision.

There will come a time when you need to stop fiddling with a draft, but allow space for reflection. Your manuscript will be better for it.

Best,

K

Subscribe to Romancing a Blog to get Jessie’s next letter and to Long Story Short for my next reply!

Letters to My Editor: The End Is Near

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

Welcome to Letters to My Editor. She writes to me one week on her blog. I reply the next on mine. Mayhem just might ensue.

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1

This week’s letter from Jessie, “The End Is Near,” can be found over on Romancing a Blog.

Don’t miss my reply next week here at Long Story Short. Subscribe today!

Letters to My Editor: Definitely! Except…

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

Welcome to Letters to My Editor. She writes to me one week on her blog. I reply the next on mine. Mayhem just might ensue.

Click here to read Jessie’s most recent letter.

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1Dear Jessie,

To answer your question first, I was thinking this year I’d celebrate your birthday by sending you a puppy. I know you’ve already got two, but really, that’s the only gift I can think of to top a month’s blood, sweat, and tears. Thoughts?

In the mean time, I got to thinking about something you mentioned in your most recent letter:

“Genres have distinct rules with distinct formats, and again, if the editor is writing in a different genre, they may disagree with something you’ve written because it doesn’t fit the rules of their genre.”

I definitely agree. Mostly.

I have a complicated relationship with genre. On one hand, bookstores have a horrible habit of not stocking their shelves with a separate section listed “BOOKS KATE WILL LOVE.” On the other, genres put up boundaries that don’t always strictly exist in literature.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I am generally a proponent of guidelines, policy, and order. As a reader, when I want to sink myself into a puzzle, I head straight for the mystery section of my local library (quite frequently as those who catch my weekly What’s Your Read posts will recognize), and as an editor, I advise writers to be mindful of the different needs of different genres. When outlining a mystery, I suggest working backwards from the moment the culprit is revealed; this creates delicious opportunity for foreshadowing, viable red herrings, and a surprising but believable guilty-party.

However . . .

If we stick with “rules” we miss the golden opportunities of borrowing from other genres to enrich stories, introduce writers to a wider range of readers, and move a genre forward. Sticking with the example of mystery, it can be a very dynamic contributor to any genre, but adding a mysterious element will potentially require breaking the rules of the original, intended genre. Or at least widening the rules to include some additional ones. You don’t have to be writing a full-fledged whodunnit to employ the technique I mentioned above, but your mysterious element will fall flat if you don’t consider it.

It’s a tough balance, and an author should absolutely advocate for his/her own work. But I would be a poor editor if I didn’t also mention that it is possible to hold too tightly to genre. Time and again, I firmly believe that that tricky balance is maintained through consistent, open, and considerate communication between writer and editor. The editor should never usurp the writer, and the writer should be receptive to input in order to make an informed decision. Editing should strive to be a conversation.

Best,

K

Subscribe to Romancing a Blog to get Jessie’s next letter and to Long Story Short for my next reply!

Letters to My Editor: The Importance of Editors Who Write

What does a working relationship between a writer and an editor look like? Author and HNE client, Jessie Clever and I have known each other for more than ten years. So in our case, it looks a little snarky.

Welcome to Letters to My Editor. She writes to me one week on her blog. I reply the next on mine. Mayhem just might ensue.

Letters-to-My-Editor_edited-1

This week’s letter from Jessie, “The Importance of Editors Who Write,” can be found over on Romancing a Blog.

Don’t miss my reply next week here at Long Story Short. Subscribe today!