The other day, I happened to be at my local feed store. The cashier hasn't been there too awfully long, but long enough that I had hoped she would remember me. She explained that she doesn't remember faces really well, and well, neither do I, so it was all good. Then I got an idea. I asked her if she likes to read. She does. Yay. So, I handed her a bookmark and started talking to her about my books. I bet her that she wouldn't forget me again.
During the course of our conversation, though, she mentioned that her daughter writes books, too. So, once I'd finished talking about myself, I asked about her daughter's writing. She's only finished one book, but her experience with a 'professional editor' has her so down that she may never write another. Even though the people who've read her book loved it and even though those people want more of that world and even though they told her to ignore the editor. Poor thing. I wish I could give her a hug and tell her everything will be alright.
Apparently, this editor wanted her to make so many changes, the book would no longer be the book she wrote. I was livid. Not only no, but hell no. Instead of dropping the idea of writing, she needs to drop that editor. Perhaps drop kick the editor.
I told the mom what I firmly believe - editors are there to provide suggestions, and if they're messing with your story, they're the wrong editor. Take what you agree with and ditch the rest. And if you find yourself disagreeing more than agreeing, ditch the editor.
I also told the mom to have her daughter email me. Not sure if I can help, but even if she just wants to vent and gain a sympathetic ear, I'm here. Hell, for all I know, she's the next Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman. (The book is fantasy.) And all she needs is a little coaxing through this birthing process. She could also be a true neophyte whose book needs a lot of work. In either case, she probably doesn't deserve to have her dream stomped on. New writers should all have wear the Label - Caution: Handle with Care.
Additionally, I told the mom that her daughter, pardon my language, needed to grow a set because this business requires it. (Yes, I actually said 'pardon my language'. I don't know this gal as well as I knew the last one.) Because while new writers should be handled with care until their skin thickens, they also need to work on getting that skin as thick as they can make it - the sooner the better. As most of you are aware, this writing thing will grind you into a fine powder, piss in the dust, and use the paste as grout - if you let it.
Anyway, I hope she does contact me. If I can't help her, I can put her in touch with other writers, open the door to the community so maybe she can find someone who can help. And like I said, I can at least commiserate.
Lastly, I'll leave you all with these thoughts:
"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist, you are learning your craft -- then you can add all the genius you like." - Phyllis A. Whitney
"Writers must fortify themselves with pride and egotism as best they can. The process is analogous to using sandbags and loose timbers to protect a house against flood. Writers are vulnerable creatures like anyone else. For what do they have in reality? Not sandbags, not timbers. Just a flimsy reputation and a name." - Brian Adkiss
And... Illigetimis non carborundum. Or 'don't let the bastards grind you down'. ;o)