Monday, June 10, 2013

Know your characters: a control freak's opinion on editors

I have to admit it and give credit where credit is due but I am in love with our editor.  Being a control freak, this is a complete turnaround to my opinion when I got edits back for the first time.  How dare she say what I wrote wasn't right?  That's the mind of a control freak of course and not the way you should handle someone's professional opinion of your work especially when you are paying them.  Okay, okay, I'm learning to lessen up the reins and take constructive criticism to heart for the sake of making our book the best it can be.  Sure, not everything I could agree on, but I would say 98% I did and I made those changes and it got easier as I went along.

Being a control freak has its advantages and disadvantages but sometimes the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.  You can't put on blinders.  Sure after countless re-readings and proofings and all that, you are sure this is the best it can be, then...a full page of edits on each page comes into your email box.


But I'm going over each line and I can see where the book is tightening up.  And I didn't realize how often I use exclamation points that were totally unnecessary.

But the one thing that I learned today is to really know your characters before you publish your book.  So today, my editor (her name is Cheryl Malandrinos look her up she is terrific) told me that I should add some kind of description to a flamboyant makeup artist named Renaldo that's in the first chapter. 

Rodger Hawthorne, one of the main characters in the book, is in his dressing room at the Unusual Propositions show in New York.  In walks his makeup artist and Cheryl made me realize that just "saying" he was flamboyant might not be enough.  When you picture someone "flamboyant," you automatically picture this gay dude with loads of makeup and hands flying as he is talking, right?  So now I've got to go in and add a description and wouldn't it have been helpful if I already knew what he looked like?  Holy Mary of Jesus, that's a big no no not to know your characters - all of them even the minor ones.

So...I thought I'd do a search in Google to see if an image would pop up that would give me an idea on how to put this.  Okay, here's a good one:

THAT'S IT!  Prince!!!  So he's a young black dude with loads of makeup and I Dream of Jeannie clothes, mainly purple. 

Okay back to the drawing board, or writing board, and create a description for Renaldo.

But you see how this could have saved time if you already knew what your characters looked like? 


  1. You talk about me and you don't even tell me? LOL! Thanks for the nod. I'm glad the book is coming together. I have only one question to ask: What happens when two control freaks work together? Hopefully the results are positive.