Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Still Unopened, Not a Gift

I really really thought I was going to open it this morning, but I'm not ready. For one thing, I'm sober. And more importantly, I'm angry. I really have to wait until the combination of "I can't believe I have to rewrite this again" plus "I can't believe this arrived at Christmas" dissipates.

The torture of rewriting to satisy a single stranger is something that cannot be taught. If a course like "Writing to Please A Picky Yet Indecisive Dominatrix" was featured in MFA programs, attendance might dwindle.

My Former Agent used to delight in gossiping about her editor friends who had acquired first novels. "Oh they got that for a song," she'd say. "The manuscript was a mess." As writers, we think of the industry as wanting to buy only perfection: novels polished down to the punctuation, researched for a decade, these are the books that get sold for top dollar. These are the books they want, editors are lazy. That's what writers think.

Writers are wrong. Publishers also want flawed books with extremely strong premises--because they can buy them for a song and edit the crap out of them and send writers into the loony bin.

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