Monday, August 28, 2006

The Care and Feeding of Editors--Part 1

I interrupt the “Why we stop reading” discussion to tell you about the weekend. ’Twas the Violet Dawn launch party on Saturday. And, due to that fact, ’twas also The Weekend The Editors and Agent Came To Visit. In light of this, I hereby offer you my humble advice on the care and feeding of editors.

1. Invite your editors for a weekend at your house on the lake. They’ll jump at the chance, seeing as how they don’t get out much.

Friday afternoon. Two Z editors drove up in their rental. To protect the innocent (or guilty--you decide), I shall call them E1 and E2. They were a bit late in arriving. Okay, make that more than a bit late. I gave absolutely explicit directions to the house (we’re talking down to tenth of a mile in where to make the next turn). They still got lost. Seems they “got to talking.” On the “turn right and go 6.3 miles, then turn left” leg of the journey from the airport, E2 (navigator) didn’t inform E1 (driver) of said mileage until they were already waaay down the road—well over the 6.3 miles. It’s a good thing they stopped yakking long enough to check, or they’d have ended up in Boise.

2. Send detailed instructions on how to find your house—but don’t expect the editors to follow them.

Anyway, they finally made it here. E1 had a suitcase as big as a U-Haul. Gave some lame excuse like her small one broke. I grabbed a bag in each hand and toted them inside.

3. Always carry editors’ suitcases.

Both of them exclaimed over the house and the view out across the lake, and how tough it was to leave their cubbyhole offices to come here, but somebody had to do it. E1 then “let it slip” that they’d flown Northwest, which was about to go on strike any minute, and drat it all, but they just might be stuck here for a while.

The whole suitcase thing was suddenly becoming clear.

4. Invite them for two nights, but be prepared for a week.

A good hostess first settles guests into their quarters. I put them in the second floor guest rooms. E1 begged E2 for the lake view vs. the forest view room. E2 graciously acquiesced. Okay, it was more like half graciously. The other half said, “But you owe me big time, and you’re gonna pay.”

After the settling in, they needed to be fed.

5. Always feed your editors well. A full editor is a happy editor.

Time to start our meetings. We had much to cover. We’d talk some that Friday, then do more meeting stuff all day Saturday when Agent joined us--until the evening launch party. We settled at the outside table on the big octagonal gazebo part of our deck. Started our discussion. Hadn’t been going at it very long when E2 blurted, “Is that a black dog?” I followed her gaze over to the edge of the grass, not very far away.

E1’s jaw dropped. “Nuh-uh. That’s a bear.”

Our neighborhood little black bear cub had chosen that moment to show himself. It was only the second time we’ve seen him. I’m convinced the local wildlife held a consortium and staged this event just for our guests. It worked. E2 had never seen a bear in her life. She could hardly believe she was seeing one stroll across the lawn.

E1 grabbed her camera, but Little Black Bear disappeared back into the forest. E1 was ready to chase it down for a photo shoot, but thought better of it. This had more than a little something to do with the crashing about of Mama Bear in the woods. She never came out on the lawn, but she certainly made her presence known. I suggested to E1 that chasing after Baby might not be the smartest move.

6. Do not allow your editors to endanger themselves or others.

E1 stayed put. Which means no photo of Little Black Bear. But E2 will swear on her grave that’s what we saw. It had better be, because she got ribbed all weekend. At anything that moved—“Hey, E2, is that a dog?”

7. Tease your editors often. It keeps them humble.

E1 and 2 hadn’t been here even two hours—and already they had a rare bear sighting. I figured it was the precursor to an interesting weekend.

I was right.

Read Part 2


Cara Putman said...

I'll try to figure out how to stage a bear sighting if I ever have an editor and said editor visits. Might be a little hard in the fields of Indiana though. Hmmm, I sense an excellent reason to move to the mountains. Or a lake!

Kristy Dykes said...

Can't wait for the next installment!

Unknown said...

You didn't say what editors eat. I'm assuming young aspiring authors. But what about a side dish?

~michelle pendergrass said...

And there's "the hook." Good one B!

Cara, we could go in halves on the bear thing, I might know a couple of people who have bears and tigers...

Julie Carobini said...

Now see, I've been trying to get hubby to move to an oceanfront place. Maybe all he needs to see is the write-off potential...

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

(Julie, you want to get CLOSER to the ocean than you already are?? Hahah)

Brandilyn, I'll say again, your talent for humor writing is being seriously underutilized!

Hang that branding thing. You could be the next Liz Curtis Chapman!

Hahah, I know. You want to be the first, real-McCoy Brandily Collins.

All I can say is, this is funny, funny stuff. You do kept me in stitches on this here blog. Either that or you're teaching me something important.


D. Gudger said...

This morning my dog discovered a HUGE racoon holed up in the shed outside - maybe want to send the editors to Denver? He's still in there...

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

LOL...bears are a normal way of life here. I had to stop and let a cub corss the road the other morning on the way to town.

Your scene reminds me of a Chevy Chase movie where they were trying to sell the house and were cueing in all type of wildlife every time prospective buyers showed up!

As usual you leave us with "a hook"!

Dineen A. Miller said...

LOL! Alright, bring on part 2. Love this stuff.

I don't know. If BC started writing humorous fiction, would she stay the wacky person she with all that pouring out on the page? OR, she could write about people getting killed in humorous ways.

Yeah, the clown serial killer comes to a big top near you! Just watch your way in 'cuz you may not come out. LOLOLOLOL

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Oy vey - this publishing thing is tough. Squirrels I got. Bobcats I got. Possums I got. Even deer. But no bears. Sheesh. Do you suppose we could arrange maybe a little exchange?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, honey, maybe the two baby bears you saw before are now teen-agers and mama bear doesn't like the company they're finding. That'll make believers out of these editors. Reminds me of our old house in India, only there it was cobras and kraits. Mom