I’m pretty sure everybody and her mother knows how I want to be an editor. Something inside me just goes wildly happy when I get to talk about people’s darling manuscripts and help them make them better. I think Microsoft Word’s Track Changes and comment features are one of the coolest things ever invented. I like the partnership between editor and writer.
But I might be changing my editor dream. I’m going to become a professional whistler. I’m pretty amazing at it now, but I’m going to get even better at it. Make my living off of it, y’know?
Ten points to everyone who gets the reference :)
In all seriousness, today’s post is going to be about critiquing, partnerships, and why I leaped at the chance to help plan the Zombie Apocalypse Pitch Party with Amanda Foody.
When people ask me what my plans are after graduation, I always tell them I want to be an editor, that it’s been my plan ever since I was a kid. And that’s true. But I didn’t realize that until a couple of years ago when I met this awesome girl named Mary Kate in the forums on nanowrimo.org. She selflessly agreed to help me edit my first ever novel, Greener Pastures, and thus began a wonderful partnership that I hold as a standard for all crit partnerships.
I had never had anyone seriously critique my work before that, and my mind was blown away with how patient and encouraging MK was. I spent hours scrubbing Greener Pastures in order to make it a fun, easy read for her. And at the end of the edit, I had a novel ten thousand times better than before.
I still didn’t realize what that meant.
Fast forward to 2010 and my discovery of Inkpop.com (sadly deleted now, but AWESOME while it lasted). It was a site for YA writers to read and comment on each other’s work. At first, I was content to write 100ish word comments after reading people’s projects. But as I began to see how much care the serious writers put into critiques, I knew I had to get better. I started making in-line comments as well as summaries. I learned to balance praise with critique. Always, always, I tried to remain positive and encouraging.
Since then, I’ve gotten more and more out of everything I put into the writing community. I’m never going to be able to balance out all the wonderful help I’ve gotten from fellow writers in the forms of support, critique, and friendship, no matter how many hours I put back in.
And the amazing thing about it is that nobody’s keeping score. We give and receive, and as long as you pay it forward, you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
That’s why I’m a critique partner. It’s why I burned your eyes with excerpts from The Angel Saga in Lessons from the Monster. It’s why I blog encouragement and randomness. It’s why I interned at a publishing house, use sites like Figment and Wattpad, mentor newbies on NaNoWriMo, and it’s why I was ecstatic to help out with ZAPP.
[That and because it’s just like awesome fun :)]
I want to be a part of the writing community that fosters new writers and continues to hone the talents of the old-heads.
End love letter to the universe. :)