Monday, September 17, 2007


Un bain maure,
Jean Leon Gerome,
oil on canvas.

I've wanted to say this for some time.

Remember that beautiful essay, the Editor's Creed, by KM Frontain on the mutual reponsibilities of editors and writers that I re-posted on Aug 30?

M.E. Ellis also adheres to the tenets expressed therein to, well, the letter.

Besides being a fearsomely good writer ( her books have been listed on Mobipocket up there with the big ones - yanno, like King), as an editor, Michelle is a honey to work with.

At its best, editing is a dialogue towards improving the product. It is not a master-slave arrangement.

Neither is it a parent-child relationship. You should be old enough to dress yourself.

A good editor will point out if you forgot your underpants, but it is up to the writer to dig in the dresser drawer and cover her ass.

And a good editor always knows to the last jot and tittle why she thinks some element in a submission might require revision, correction or expansion.

E-publishers are sometimes dismissed on the basis of sloppy editing. Sometimes this accusation is fully justified. That is not the case here.

Wild Child Publishing may be a small house, but the quality of its editors, such as Michelle, speaks well for its future.

Pimp Report: One more day...


StarvingWriteNow said...

"A good editor will point out if you forgot your underpants, but it is up to the writer to dig in the dresser drawer and cover her ass."

Bernita, that is a superior statement. I may have to post it on my writing wall--I love it!

kmfrontain said...

Me too. I was about to quote the same line, but starvingwritenow beat me to it. :D

Thanks for the mention, Bernita. M.E. is an absolute doll for other things too. She emailed me most of her FB ebooks to put up for giveaways on a chat she can't even participate in. I'm am going to post excerpts for her.

Bernita said...

Hee, thank you, Starving.
Even if I did switch pronouns in midstream?

You're a doll too, Michelle.
WC/FB is very lucky to have you both.
And I knew you both before you became editrixies and began the Belden thing!

Jaye Wells said...

I'm glad you're having such a positive experience with them.

Bernita said...

Jaye, I'm just smart enough to recognize good editorial in-put when I see it.

Kate Thornton said...

Trixie Belden! Oh Bernita, what a flood of wonderful memories!

I'm hoping to edit a few mystery shorts this winter - I have the very best to learn from right here. And I am absolutely stealing your line - with credit, of course.

Bernita said...

"And I am absolutely stealing your line - with credit, of course."
Kate dear, steal away. I'm flattered!

Charles Gramlich said...

This is good to hear since I've seen some books published my major houses in the last ten years where it looked like the editor shirked his or her job.

Bernita said...

I can only say, Charles, if there are howlers in my story that the fault is mine.
I understand they run things through several copy editors as well.

Frank Baron said...

Anyone who's been writing and subbing for any length of time will have a horror story or four about editors. But most editors have hundreds of teeth-grinding tales about writers.

I've been fortunate in that by far the majority of editors I've worked with have been terrific folks - smart, tactful and patient. They've taught me much. Sounds like Michelle is one of the good'uns.

Jon M said...

Damn...forgot me underpants again....You wouldn't know where my socks went would you?

raine said...

Agree with starvingwritenow...great quote, lol.

Bernita said...

Maybe I've just been lucky,Frank, but that has been my experience as well.

Try the laundry basket,Jon!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.

spyscribbler said...

Um, I just wrote an entire story in my head off of your picture today. Wow. Love that picture.

And so right about editors and the why's. And the underpants. :-)

spyscribbler said...

PS: Do you know what un bain maure means?

Bernita said...

Thank you, Natasha.
I do too. That's one of the reasons I include pictures - can't get away from the sybiosis.

Means "The Moorish Bath."

Bernita said...

Sorry, "A" Moorish Bath.

The Anti-Wife said...

"A good editor will point out if you forgot your underpants, but it is up to the writer to dig in the dresser drawer and cover her ass."

Truly one of the best lines ever!

Bernita said...

Thank you, AW!

M.E Ellis said...

K.M. pointed me this way.

Now my bloody mascara's running!


Bernita said...

Bloody hell, Woman - wear waterproof!

kmfrontain said...


Don't wear any, I say. We are beautiful as nature intended us. *insert fem power marching band music*

Bernita said...

Ha, Karen!
I have very long eyelashes. They are two-thirds blonde. I'm sure as hell not going around looking like I have eye-stubble.
Maybelline is my friend.

kmfrontain said...

*Marching band drifting off into the night...*

Yeah, I'd probably use make up too if I didn't detest the feel of it on my skin. I love looking at make up displays though. The wee bottles and crayons are so Alice down the rabbit hole. Want to open every bottle and test each, but not on me.

Sam said...

I was just thinking of editors today too - I 'met' my newest one last night, and she did a Terrific job. I get so excited when I'm working with a good editor. It's really like watching a rough stone turn into a diamond as the editor works on your manuscript.
And I'm always amazed I made so many stupid errors, lol!

Bernita said...

The cosmetics counter is a sensual place, Karen.
And God bless copy editors, Sam!
~wondering how I missed "Scandavian" for "Scandinavian"~

M.E Ellis said...

I wonder how I bloody missed it too, B!

See, editors are human too!


Bernita said...

Had to give the copy editors someting to do, Michelle!