A Job Well Done

behonestwith

I feel good. I have completed editing over 94,000 words in less than three weeks, way ahead of schedule. I was invited to submit a proposal on an “invitation only” job and got it in a matter of an hour or so. It’s a read-through with notes, it won’t take me very long. I just have to stifle my urge to edit it. I refuse to do something I’m not being paid or asked to do in the job description. If you’re asking for a read-through, you’ll get it, but I won’t kill myself to give you more than what you’ve asked for. That’s only fair.

It’s also one of the reasons I keep my best work to myself until it is submitted for publication. I don’t need 100 opinions or thoughts, I know myself and I know what works. It’s not ego, it’s skill and experience. Not everything I write is for every single person on the planet, nor does it need to be. Know thy audience, but please yourself as the first person reading it.

Many writers deal with an “inner critic”. Basically, mine knows when I’m writing “filler”. In turn, I have no problem deleting it. It could be pages of crap, but I encourage you, as a writer, to know when it’s crap and remove it. It helps to avoid the “This is being cut.” remarks from an editor in the future. Know yourself, know when you’re putting your absolute best work forward, and know when to step back from it for a little while. Return with fresh eyes and a clear mind. If you agonize, it will always show in your work. If you were pushing yourself to meet a deadline, it will show and any reader with a lick of sense will pick up on it immediately.

Not that long ago I read a book from an author I read consistently. From beginning to end, the book felt forced, it felt repetitive, it felt unimaginative and about as unique as a paper bag, and getting to the end was like pulling teeth with your bare hands. The book went straight to #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. I wish you could have seen my face when I saw it. The book lacked quality, substance, a real plot, and damn near bored me to tears. It was the same old shit, in a different fucking book. It was, in all honesty, not that much different from a different series that the author writes, only the names and characters are slightly different. At the core of both, is the author’s pain, and she pours that pain into both of her lead characters. I respect her right for creative control and creative license, but that book made me lose a ton of respect for her as a person. When you’ve read all of a person’s work for closing in on 12 years, it is perfectly okay to be disappointed by even just one highly touted novel in a series, or in the series itself. I will pretty much NEVER publicly disrespect another female author, because I know how hard we work (Yes, male authors work hard too, but I lack the necessary equipment guys.), and I’m a girl’s girl to the core. For an author that once inspired me, I felt like she’d let her readers down. I read the reviews and while it remains at about a 4 star rating on many web-sites, pretty much every review was filled with anger, disappointment, and disgust. People were offended that they’d wasted $15-$30 on crap, depending on where and how they had purchased it and in which format, and that’s putting many reviews mildly.

Half-assing it shows. Maybe not to a new reader, but for people who have been with you from the very beginning, they will remember. They will determine whether or not the next book sells, and exactly how well it does. So, lesson to be learned? Don’t cheat your readers, but most importantly, don’t cheat yourself.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.