April 27th, 2009

Leodora Test

The Editrix Responds

A couple of days ago I blogged a conversation between myself and the Editrix. Well, she didn't like it. It seems that under that gruff (bitchy, demanding, cutting) exterior, she's quite sensitive to parody and ridicule. And since our relationship is fairly new, I decided to provide a more balanced version of our collaborative efforts.

It's process. My understanding is that novels may be different. And I'm quite sure that lots of short story writers don't have this kind of process; i.e. your results may vary. Heck, I didn't use to have this process. It's only a few months old. We've only edited two stories this way, Editrix and I. The rule is that each word in my short stories must be considered carefully, rather like writing poetry. It must be the right word, the right sentence. According to Editrix. Actually, I think this is Frost's fault again. Yeah, blame him, Editrix says. He gets blamed for lots of stuff and won't notice.

Frost read The Mouse King and said that a writer must only include what the reader needs to know, no more, no less. The Mouse King, according to Frost, had extraneous things in it that the writer needed to know, but not the reader of that particular story. Ok fine. I still haven't fixed that story. Mostly because while I understood what he meant, I didn't know how to do it.

So, I wrote "One Does What One Must" in a white heat while traveling for 7 hours. And then spent 4 days with Editrix. It went something like this:
Editrix: Why is this a stone vase?
Me: Not sure.
Editrix: Why is this a meat stew?
Me: Not sure.
Editrix: Why are you babbling on about mercy?
Me: Ummm, cause that was the line that started this?
Editrix: Is this doctor-guy important? What else does he do?
Me: Umm, I guess he's not. He doesn't have any other lines.
Editrix: Whose house is this?
Me: I don't know.
Editrix: So if she knows what was in the stew, does he?
Me: I don't know.
Editrix: So when does he go to the witch?
Me: Never? Is that an option?
Editrix: And does his wife go with him?
Me: I don't know.
Editrix: Is there a baby or isn't there????
Editrix: [asking the really hard one] What's his name? Her name?
Me: I hate names. Do I have to name them?
Editrix: Yes. The name will tell you something.
Me; Sounds like New Age garbage to me.

As you can see, Editrix is simply asking questions and I'm the dog in the manger about it all, not her. In the course of answering those questions, the final draft took shape. When I knew an answer, some aspect would become finalized. Such as how a scene looked. Or how it set up something that needed to happen later. And yes, I did have to find names for the characters. The rough draft calls them him/he and the girl/the wife.

Oh Great Editrix, keep asking your questions. (She knows when I'm being sarcastic, too.) OTOH, she's been kicking fairy butt all over "And From His Lips."

Frog Out