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    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Had a Feeling I Could be Someone


I have been having a lot of lunches with youngsters, and by that I mean people in their late twenties and early thirties. Many with marvelous piercings and tattoos. All with passion for their work, the projects they’ve acquired, just being in the publishing circus. I remember when I was a young editor in my Anne Taylor suits and god knows what kind of sensible shoes. And shells. Shells were big. I had a big Coach tote bag, one of the first things I bought with my first credit card. I loved the shit out of that bag and hung it up many years later like a feed bag on a hook in a horse barn. It was big enough for two full-length manuscripts, wallet, keys, and the like.  And I toted it around so proud to be an editor.

What is your experience with editors?


13 Responses

  1. I am a newbie to this stage of the book biz, yet hopeful. The one I hired to review/suggest/correct a portion of a manuscript was thorough, but also quite encouraging. Another person, a freelance editor who is reading the same manuscript, has said she likes the story progression and the characters. I am keeping candles lit she will send it on to her contacts.

  2. They have all been perfect for me at whatever stage I was in at the time. Ann Patty was the first one to take a sneak peek at what would become THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE. Even though she couldn’t work on it (fatal flaw) when I went back to her after fixing the enormous errors she’d pointed out, she encouraged me to contact an editor friend of hers, Caroline Upcher. I worked with her for a year and she was the key to my getting an agent.

    The editor I have now is like living a dream come true. I get pages from him with red pencil marks. (why that excites me, I have no idea, but it’s so perfect. I want them as keepsakes, but my office is becoming a fire hazard.)

  3. Editors?
    They save us from ourselves.

  4. I am an editor. I don’t think I’ve had enough coffee to answer that question.

    • I’ve had my writing professionally edited three or four times. With the exception of one time when the editor and I had a profound (yet polite and professional) difference in opinion about the direction of a piece, it was magical.

      • I’d like to give a shout out to Sarah Cypher at Threepenny Editor who saved my life and, I hope, my book. She came to me highly recommended and I highly recommend her in turn.

  5. I had a couple of good editors. But then I hit the jackpot. Melanie Kroupa bought one of my books and then a second one. That’s when I realized that my writing must not be too horrible. Melanie didn’t waste her time on mediocre. She was a delight to work with and I learned so much. Now she’s retired and I miss her.

  6. Most editors have been anonymous rejectors (is that a word? it is now — I’m a writer!) of my work. A few have been enthusiastic supporters of specific pieces. One over these past several years has repeatedly said that she’s “always interested to see” what I’ve written.

    A few editors have been very helpful with specific pieces, a couple of times so much so that I thought they should receive credit as co-authors.

    When I was first starting out as a creative writer — a long time ago — I was skittish and defensive about editors. I thought they would ruin my work. Ha ha ha, I was doing that myself.

    Only one time has my experience with an editor been less than good. I felt the editor didn’t understand some of the basics of the genre. In that case, I withdrew the work from consideration.

  7. Both excellent and poor (just one). The good ones were were respectful of my work, my own preferences – yet right on target with what needed to be fixed. They had the perspective of the reader and could see what I could not.Their revisions were always put in the form of suggestions, and I appreciated their considerateness. Not that I’m so sensitive – an editor once told me you can’t be afraid to “kill those babies.” So I can and I do.
    On the other hand, that not-so-good editor was a stickler for rules, rules, rules. She murdered my stuff. And I hated working with her. (Eventually, FYI, the magazine got rid of her.)

  8. Limited experience, but I had the feeling a good part of the editing process had more to do with the bottom line than what I wanted (related to magazine articles, paid by the word). The editors I worked with were very nice and told me they understood my feelings, but I’d have to say, the circumcision was a little more drastic than I expected.

  9. Just a day dream. Just me. Sometimes I’m horrified I sent my one and only story I’m Red Barron cluster bombing to lit mags in the shape it’s in, and I’m happy with polite rejections, relieved, and then I make it better and grind my teeth. I think I might be the best editor for me but it’s the only experience I’ve had. Wet dreamer, I guess. (And I’ll go down with the ship before I pay to play. That just seems so wrong to me.)

  10. Hello there.
    My wife’s my editor! I wouldn’t trust my stories with anyone else. Plus, she works for free!
    Take care —

    Neil S.

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