Friday, May 14, 2010

The Editor

The Ice Cone, Montmorency Falls,

Robert Todd, c. 1845,

oil on canvas,

National Gallery of Canada.

Just for the record, my editor for Dark and Disorderly, was Michael A. Banks, the internet guru and historian. His website is here.

His latest of, oh, twenty-eight books or so, On the Way to the Web, may be found here.

And he just happens to be one of those who can claim to be a New York Times best selling author.

Just a bit intimidating for a first time author like me, no?

He began his edits by emailing that my story had stuck in his mind. A comment which is one of the best--and the most reassuring statements in the circumstances--a slightly terrified writer could ask for.

The ravening howls of the racing wolf pack, red tongues lolling, great claws churning the snow, which seemed poised to leap into my sleigh of prose-- to slash and kill and dismember-- suddenly receeded in the distance.

And so it was. No horror stories from me.
For while he pointed out, for example, that my world-building was scant and reminded me to employ more senses in scenes, he paired those criticisms with casual references to lines he enjoyed.

And, believe me, I was totally grateful to have such omissions and any specific errors caught and highlighted by a professional eye.

Thank you, Michael. So. Much.


raine said...

Sounds like you found a gem, Bernita.
That's only fair. So did he.

writtenwyrdd said...

I can see how his comments would make you feel better, Bernita!

laughingwolf said...

wowsers, as the saying goes!

glad you found one another :)

one thing bothers me, too many folk still reference wolves as some kind of monsters... in fact, there is not one recorded incident of a person being killed by a wolf in north america, a myth perpetrated by those who hate all wildlife, but especially wolves :(

your description is fab, though...

Bernita said...

Dearest Raine, thank you...and I found a gem the lucky day I found you.

To have my story line stick in the mind of a guy with his accomplishments? It was the most wonderful boost, Written!

Not those who hate all, LW, those who fear some.
I drew on a literary and artistic tradition for that image.

BernardL said...

A good experience. I wonder all the time about that world building monster. I'm more in favor of the scant world 'revealing' mode where the background comes to light when the story needs it, not the other way around. :)

Lana Gramlich said...

A very thoughtful post. It's always nice to have someone who helps you along the path. :)

Bernita said...

That's the method I chose, Bernard. He didn't object to my method, he just wanted more of it tucked in here and there so the reader would feel more grounded.

And for me,Lana, it's not only nice, it's a necessity!

Whirlochre said...

Nice to have someone savvy to help you sharpen your instrument...

laughingwolf said...


Charles Gramlich said...

an editor with a good desk-side manner is to be treasured.

Bernita said...

Whirl, when you ...I always feel I've missed your point.

"desk-side manner"
Charles, he has it down perfectly.

Barbara Martin said...

A good editor is worth their weight in gold.

Natasha Fondren said...

Editors rock!

Natasha Fondren said...

OMG, totally didn't realize it, but my word verification for my last post? "rockin" Bizarre!

Anonymous said...

Glad those fears got a holly stake through the heart! (Or maybe a silver bullet is more appropriate for those wolves.)

Ric said...

Bernita, my dear lady,
Feel like I'm late to the game here and not supporting my friend as I should be. I admit to being a tad jealous when I should be rooting for your wildly expected success and enjoying your journey through all these new and exciting experiences.
Please be assured that I am.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Jason. Believe me, I had quite a phantasmagoria going!

Dearest Ric, I understand. Do you not think I have sometimes felt--not jealousy exactly--but a kind of lonely longing, a "why not me too?
In the end, it comes down to chance.
You said once you did not mind, so I retained "Ric" as the first name of one of my characters, though he is nothing like you, you dear man.Just as my husband bore no similarity to Lillie's husband--living or dead.

Ric said...


And delightfully pleased at the honor.

Do not give your immense talent and perseverance over to mere chance.

As my Grandfather used to say,
Cream always rises to the top.

Bernita said...

~snort and fiddle-de-dee~
My "immense talent," indeed!
Ric, dearest Ric, I have no immense talent. I believe I write a good story, that is all; and I hope, rather desperately, that readers will enjoy it and be pleased.
Re: Grandfather.Apply that to yourself. Rich, heavy cream takes a little longer.

Truly, Barbara! They are indeed!