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Cafe Doom  |  The Critique Crypt  |  General writing chat  |  Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
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Author Topic: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor  (Read 15526 times)

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Offline Geoff_N

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2007, 10:38:21 AM »
IMHO, we shouldn't be too upset at the word 'crap'. It is more an American than British term and I admit to only using it rarely. I was shocked when I encoutered it in a recommended text on Education (Teaching as a subversive activity - ironically, the headteacher at the school I first taught in, confiscated it off me in the staff room saying he didn't want his staff thinking outside any boxes!). I am looking at my second copy of it now and quote this for y'all.

"In the early 1960’s, an interviewer was trying to get Ernest Hemingway to identify the characteristics required for a person to be a “great writer”. As the interviewer offered a list of possibilities, Hemingway disparaged each in sequence. Finally, frustrated, the interviewer asked. “Isn’t there any one essential ingredient that you can identify?” Hemingway replied, “Yes, there is. In order to be a great writer a person must have a built-in shockproof crap detector.”

Geoff

Offline Sallyq

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2007, 10:48:46 AM »
Well it's not the word that's the problem, Geoff. It's the context of the word. The way Hemingway said it obviously wasn't aimed at a particular person, whereas being told your work is 'crap' is a personal insult.

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2007, 11:53:35 AM »
Eh, I don't mind the word crap. Yet if they just say "crap" and then expect you to fix the problem, I can see how it would be frustrating. I'm sure  there is a difference between TRUE dick-face editors and editors that simply have their hard-ass hat on because they need it to get the job done. Words like crap, while potentially hurtful, can be time savers I suppose.

I can still remember the shock of being in NewHouse (the journalism school at my university). I was used to being teacher's pet, straight As (except for math) etc. They told us in Magazine class that we would get Fs on our early exercises. I, of course, could not possibly imagine this happening. Then it happened...a few times. It sucked, hard, but it also taught us that sometimes even our best sucks  :santa_cry:

But it's OK to "suck" sometimes. It's part of being human and as much money as it would make us, it would be boring to be perfect EVERY time. Can you imagine sitting down to write and always knowing that what you were about to create would be literary gold? It would be like that Twilight Zone where the guy dies and goes to a casino where every time you play, you win. Sucked the thrill right out of existing.

Offline Ed

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2007, 01:22:50 PM »

Ed – You do realize you called me Natalie, not Angela?


Oh God - sorry about that. I don't know why, but I get your two names mixed up quite often. Strange, because as people I don't mix you up at all - just the names :idiot:

Quote
I’m taking it a little less personally . . . today. What really frustrated me was that the story was assigned to me by the editor himself. I still don’t understand why you would assign a story directly to someone and then inform them that the idea for the whole thing was a waste of time!

He probably forgot, or changed his mind. He might even have been feeling you out, to see how you reacted. Hard to know, but I would trust whatever Neil says on the subject - he knows his stuff inside out. :afro:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2007, 01:54:10 PM »


[/quote]

Oh God - sorry about that. I don't know why, but I get your two names mixed up quite often. Strange, because as people I don't mix you up at all - just the names :idiot:


[/quote]

If it helps, just call me Ash. Everyone does. I only use Natalie L.  because I thought "Ash Sin" made it seem like I was trying too hard to be edgy. Also I figured it was a good way to make it up to my parents for ditching my given name back in college  ;)

Offline Ed

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2007, 02:03:47 PM »
Aaw no - now you've got three names :cheesy:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline Sallyq

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2007, 02:08:33 PM »
But Ash and Angela sound more similar than Natalie and Angela :santa_cheesy:

I think it's easy to get names mixed up on forums, especially when we mostly know people by their screennames rather than their real name. I'm on a forum where we have several members whose names begin with J, and are of similar length.  The other members are always mixing them up.

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2007, 02:21:39 PM »
Aaw no - now you've got three names :cheesy:

Well, more than that if you count ALL my various blog/forum names AND my Chinese name. I'm such fun!   :evil:
If it helps, here's a handy list:

Natalie L. Sin = Pen name

SamLeeFreak = Fun online name

Ash = Name that everyone calls me, except for my parents who refuse to accept that they picked the wrong name to saddle me with as an infant. This is not to say that it's a bad name, I just never grew into it.

Offline starktheground

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2007, 06:22:15 PM »
Done and done, Sally. Neil is truly a great guy. I only hate wasting his time with my piddly little problems!  :ssmiley


And Ash is the coolest name for a chick ever! I am so calling you that from now on!

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2007, 03:23:13 AM »
Ash, I can't call you Ash. I've been critiquing a very long fantasy over at BSFA Orbiters and the main character, a Middle Eastern type prince is called Ash short for Ashamet. He's a bisexual man with an arranged wife from the enemy tribe to keep the peace, and with a slave manboy he is in love with. Not my cup of tea but there ye go.

I used to use avatars but when it came to promote my own work it became odd and difficult especially in my home town at book signings when thousands of former pupils and their parents know me as someone with a different name. So I use Geoff Nelder.

I know Sally isn't really Sally, Sam isn't Sam, Stark isn't Stark, Blunt isn't Blunt (for several months), Del is Derek... It gets confusing.

Actually I'm not Geoff.
I was christened Godfrey, but like Sam whose birth name didn't grow on her, no one calls me that. My dad and family call me Goff, my  friends at university onwards call me Geoff. When my wife's parents sent wedding invites to my family they had no idea who the Geoff was that they were being invited to up t'North to see get wed!

A rose etc

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2007, 11:27:50 AM »
*lol*

Those poor confused in-laws!  :santa_cheesy:

Offline darcuii

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Re: Dilemna with a not-so-nice editor
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2007, 08:01:39 AM »
Okay, I could really use some advice if anyone can give it. I've been doing some freelance writing for a local magazine, and I met the editor for the first time today. (Previously we've only communicated via phone or email.) We were meeting to discuss some writing tips that he had given during the magazine's editorial meeting (which I was unable to attend due to a baby-sitting conflict). Basically, we talked for about thirty minutes about how to be a better writer. No, scratch that. He talked for thirty minutes about how to be a better writer, much of which did not pertain to me because I already incorporate it in my writing. And then, out of nowhere, he started attacking the two of the three stories I had written for the current issue. He actually called them "crap". I wanted to cry. I did exactly as I was instructed, with a lot of headache in the process because he didn't properly convey to me what he wanted! One of the two stories he said he dropped from the publication entirely because it was just a bad, overdone topic (getting fit for the New Year). But this story was freaking ASSIGNED to me! I spent countless hours interviewing and researching for a story that's just going to be dropped? Why in the hell would you assign a story to someone if you thought it was a bad idea to begin with?! Basically, when I left the magazine office, I just felt like I had been beaten up. And I don't know if the editor was TRYING to be mean, or if he just doesn't know the proper way to give constructive criticism, but it was really, really, really hard. I felt humiliated. I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it.

So, maybe on top of the remnants of a cold and the fact that I got a flat tire right after dropping my son off at school, I'm being overly sensitive. I'm a pretty sensitve person; more than most, I'll admit. It's not always a bad thing. How should I have taken it? I came home in tears and told my better half that I was going to quit writing altogether. Of course, I didn't mean it. Not entirely. I'm seriously giving up writing for that particular magazine, maybe magazine writing altogether. I've never been passionate about it like I am with fiction; I was just using it as a tool to enhance my fiction and credentials.

Okay, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I was just wondering, since this is the first time I've EVER met an editor face-to-face, is this pretty standard? Is it protocol to berate freelance writers? Was this something that most people would find productive and am I just being a big baby about it? Tell me the truth, seriously. After today, nothing could be too harsh!



In all honesty , Yes it is quite common .  I wrote for many years in the Atlanta area and was handed, right to my face a whole array of what could be interpreted as insults . The first time it happened I went home and cried my eyes out . By the time I was coming to the end of my stint as a paid writer I couldn't have cared less.  My advice to you ( if you wish to pursue the profession  ) is toughen up and instead of blaming him look closely at what he has said ( albeit however shitty he said it ) . You will probally find that buried within his piss poor approach are some truths that you need to address . You will find Hun , it is not an editor's job to coddle your ego . It is his job to recieve HIS idea ( not yours ) of well written , well constructed pieces of work and if he does not ?  Trust me :) He's going to tell you about it .

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