The Virtues of the Author-Editor Friendship

I'M A WRITER.  As are you, probably.  But even though I've published, I still feel clueless about how to go about the publishing process.  
thankfully, i'm also good friends with an editor
After she shared the article "The 7 Deadly Sins of Novelists (According to Editors)," concerning the author-editor relationship from the editor's point of view, I decided to add my two cents on the issue from the author's point of view.


As soon as you set out to employ an editor, you're recognizing that your job isn't perfect.  For anyone of a perfectionist bent of mind, this is personally horrifying (i know, i know, that's me), but this first step is key to getting your manuscript where you want it to be: published.

Relatable: as the writer, I get so entrenched in my w.i.p. that I often lose sight of things I've already written, questions I've already raised that need answering, holes that need filling, etc.  This is natural; the writer's brain is supah-busy running full-steam ahead.  Another pair of eyes (i.e. the editor) can spot these + bring them to my attention.

Editors are human, too: they probably know that you're going to be feeling scared handing your manuscript to them to (as it seems to you) tear apart.  If you're already tough as nails + don't mind this process, that's awesome! (i wish i was you!)  But for most of us, it's helpful to be honest about how we're feeling.  An editor will be gentle (while still doing her job) with a tender writer.  Tougher clients can handle their editors' more candid remarks.  Be open.  Compassion is out there.

The editor's job isn't to slash your manuscript to shreds.  The editor's job isn't to hurt you personally.  The editor's job is to provide the professional services most writers are not trained in, to inspect, refine, + prepare a manuscript for publication.  You have the job as the writer, she has the job as the editor.  Recognizing that you are both playing different roles on the same team is vital to getting your book ready to publish.

When publishing Plenilune, I gave a small section to a potential editor under contract so I could see if I was a good fit for that editor.  While the advice I received on the section was useful, in the end I felt my vision for the book + the editor's were not compatible.  Since I had contracted for only a trial section, I was able to fulfill the contract requirements + look for a new editor.

Be teachable:  While you are the writer, there's still lots of room for error in the writing process, + the editor is there to help you take note of those mistakes.
Be loyal to your novel:  While you're bound to make mistakes, you are the author, + that means your vision is top priority.  Make sure you + your editor share the same recognition of the spirit of your novel so you can work together to polish it until it shines just the way you want it to.
Be an adult:  Fulfill your contracts, don't take revisions personally, + definitely don't make life horrible for your editor; she's here to help you, not fight you.  

The author-editor relationship is often like two dogs trying to sniff each other's butts (which is weird + gross) but snarling + distrusting each other in the process so that no one gets anywhere but in a circle.  It doesn't have to be that way.  Next time you want to hate editors because you're afraid of them, think of dogs circling butts.  That should do the trick.

remember: you're not perfect!
+ that's okay!
xoxo, jenny

SNIPPETS. Basically. Cheers.

me: if i did a snippets post, would anyone be interested?
arielle: YES. there are still other people who say to me 'yeah, i'm looking forward to jennifer freitag's next book coming out'
me: awww gawsh
me: i'd like to know that, too XD

I'M ALIVE!  And keeping my head down mostly while I work, because I don't have much energy for blogging + writing at the same time, you know how it goes.

h o w e v e r

Here I am with some sneak-peeks at what I'm writing, so please enjoy!  (it's just my life's work, ya know; no biggie; no pressure; don't have to like it; i'll just be eternally crushed if you don't. XD )

jenny's gonna shut up now

"Will you go back?" I asked.
"That - " there was a marked hesitation " - is doubtful. What welcome would there be for me, who lost three Foundations on a fool's chase? Very likely I would be exchanging the relative comfort of my prison here for the executioner's spike at home. They would call me a - " he sighed, and the word, unknown to me, I had to surmise was tantemount to a traitor. "And, over the past five years, the thought of that spike has worn the blanket of home rather thin."

To Marramir, as she climbed up beside the Roman Orchid, he said, "I see you managed not to die this time. We are going." He gave a toggle a roughish jerk into place and let his hands fall to his sides. "Tatter-catskins will have to take her bath later."
I could feel Marramir looking at me, but I did not turn round. I squatted just beyond Rhodri, arms around my broomstick, my head turned so that I could keep an eye on the reindeer. But I did not see them: my eyes were blind to the herd, seeing instead an inversion of the Emerald Jewel's face, a soft white cloudlight diffused behind her head, and a slatey darkness of disappointment on her brow.
She spoke past Rhodri. "I see he has also taught you desertion."
"And Achaemenimardux has taught you to take life cheaply," Rhodri retorted. There was no trace of weariness in his voice now. "Every time I turn my head for a moment, you are trying to get the kitten killed. How did you come to wear the cloth on your shoulders when you cannot even keep your head on them?"
Marramir rolled her head toward him: she looked tired, so utterly, bone-deep tired. "You are not my concern," she murmured.

Gently, I peeled back the muddy, crackling folds, feeling something hard and uneven underneath. A twinkle, a gleam of tarnished metal - then I had the thing bared and was staring down at a history which was not my own, lying across my lap in the voiceless defiance of the past. I stared into the face of the thing and my body began to shake.
"It is - it is beautiful," I murmured.
Rhodri reached out and touched it. "It looked finer when it was first mounted. We neither of us have aged without our blemishes."

I had never known hunger to be so constantly near to me as now, and I was further indebted to Rhodri for taking the time to show me what was good to eat from nature's own larder. An army marches on its stomach. Squatting down to unearth a faintly citrus-tasting root, plugging my nails with dirt, my mind strayed to the bitter climb through the mountains that Rhodri had endured, on the worst goose chase of all goose chases. Had they even had time to pluck herbs from the marchside and eat as they went? I stood, roots in my hands, and looked down at my body. The lush curvature of my form had sunk away to a sharp, serious, uncompromising thing, my wide hip-bones protruding and fanning my catskins out over them. My former, sedentary life had made me elegantly curved, shaped like a perfect Greek statue, but now I had become muscles and bone; what must Rhodri have looked like, who was perhaps half my size, and had not an ounce of excess fat upon him?
"I think, if I were Somermilk," I mused, rubbing the roots with the flat of my thumb until the little tendrils scraped off and fell to the earth, "if I were Somermilk, I would not have let Rhodri live. No one that strong cannot be but trouble."

Somermilk folded a cup of wine into her fingers, and as she drank it, I thought the colouring of her gown turned a russet-gold, as though the alcohol flooded veins and threads alike. "I am going to tell our hunting story to those we left behind, and you will hear it also."
What did it cost him, to keep all emotion out of his voice? "I will not."
"I even brought a gift for you." Somermilk nodded to Marramir, who, in turn, lifted a bundle off the bench and held it out. I thought of a dozen grisly things it could be. Perhaps the same thought was in Rhodri's mind, for he said,
"I have just washed. You touch it, not me."
Somermilk's eyes danced. "It will not retch on you." She rose, towering over the trestleboard, and gripped the bundle in both hands; with a snap and a shake she flung the whole thing out from her, and a familiar electricity shot through her frame, stiffening the fabric until its scarlet folds were flat-naked to the firelight, as deeply hued as though it had been dyed with blood, and I could see a victory-crown of black tulips sewn around an emblem of dragonfly wings.
"You can hunt us with fire and arrows," her voice had no laughter now, "but you will never defeat us, no more than the earth can overcome the sky. You cannot bind the mists. You cannot stop the waters. You cannot break the light of the sun and moon. We will strip your lifeless fabric trophies from your spears one by one, and when I am done," the electricity fizzled and the standard fell limp against Somermilk's thigh, "I will wrap you in them alive and burn you for the Midwinter feast.
"And now - " she folded back onto the bench, smiling slightly, "I will tell you the story."

"You are a dog," said the Roman Orchid, stepping back, "and deserve what I have brought on you."
"No." Rhodri pushed past him and turned, looking up into Achaemenimarduc's face. He smiled blithely. "You are a dog, and I am the vomit you keep returning to. Good morning." 

again, i hope you enjoyed them!
see you next time
xoxo, jenny

How To Do It All (& Stay Sane)

For those of you who have more than one responsibility, of which writing tries to be a member, let me clear something up.

( + stay sane)

When my daughter was born, I was in free-fall.  Who was I? What was I supposed to do?  How did I continue wife-ing, + author-ing, in addition to mothering??  I had a LOT of heartache + confusion to battle through, which took me years.  Y E A R S, people.  It was not easy.  I used to write all the time, whenever I felt like it.  Now I couldn't do that.  Was I still a writer?  Was I doing my vocation a disservice?  Would my writing genius DIE??

Try to tell me you haven't worried about this too.  You have a socially-accepted "job," or children, or you're in school - whatever: there are "other things" that you view as taking up your time + not allowing you to write.  Am I right?

yes, + we're wrong

Here's the problem with this way of thinking: no one has a "full-time job" I know I tell people, "Yeah, being a mother is it's own full-time job," + you all get what I mean.  But it's not.  Nothing is a full-time job.  Except breathing.  Breathing is a full-time job.  You do not do any one job constantly.  Every job requires breaks, even if all you can do in those breaks is rest - that's okay too.  But the key, I've found, is to get rid of this mentality of "full-time" + "part-time" jobs.  All jobs take their time, + very few lives are going to have everything cordoned off into neat, symmetrical packages of time so that no one task feels cheated.  That's just ridiculous.  All jobs take their time.

linear vs. integral 

"to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven"

As Westerners, we tend to take a linear view of our lives, continuing from Point A (birth) to Point B (death), with little tics along the way that highlight the customary milestones of a normal existence.  As useful as this view may be, it isn't the only view.

My own butt-hurt regarding my writing was alleviated by the thought that my work (mothering, being a wife, keeping a house, being a writer) are not strictly separate "jobs," but rather "gears" that are interlocked.  It takes awhile to get the gears all in place, so chill out, guys.  I can't do all my jobs together at the same time, but neither do I have to chop them up and hermetically seal them off from each other.  They can interlock.  Perhaps writing-time links with nap-time (not always, but I see that it's possible), etc.  When one gear is cranked away, another can come into view.  The tasks can be integrated.

Whoever you are, whatever you're doing, chances are you're not writing all the time, + you probably feel guilty when you're not focusing on writing.  Don't.  Everything has a time, everything has a purpose; you can forget about such things as "full-time jobs" + the ridiculous mental pressure applied by society on that concept.  You still have your job cut out for you: you still have to figure out how to match your gears; but you needn't feel guilty.  You needn't feel that you're cheating your creative self because you have other responsibilities as well.

there is no writing utopia

practical advice: replace "should" with "need" + "want"

This was a hugely useful piece of mental health advice I discovered.  "Should" is usually a harbinger of undue guilt, whereas "need" + "want" help clarify an issue.  Exempli gratia: I "want" to go clean the kitchen, but I actually "need" to rest.  This puts everything in perspective.  Try it!  Sometimes what we want to do seems like the best thing (cleaning the kitchen is always a good thing, ehwot??), but isn't actually the necessary thing.  I don't always want to write, you guys.  Writing is stressful + hard.  Writing means I have to think.  Thinking is exhausting.  Sometimes it's easier to just not do the writing, + sometimes I have to tell myself that what I need to do is sit my butt down + work on my manuscript.

remember: your only full-time job is breathing

thanks for still breathing!
xoxo, jenny

Adamantine Snippets! (Hip Hip Hurray!)

The current manuscript of Adamantine is 43,618 words.  I thought it was bigger than that.  X____x  I forget that the time I spend thinking + procrastinating about the novel doesn't actually contribute to the wordcount.

bah humbug

But recently I've been on a roll, which is HUGELY ENCOURAGING TO YOURS TRULY, & now I've got some goodies to share with you!  I've mostly got past the big language barrier problem now, & that's definitely helped smooth the plot along.  I mean, I can still hardly see where I'm going in the dark, but at least I can yell coherently while I'm careening down the edge of the abyss, ehwot??

baby snippets of which i am pwoud

The Good Dog gave no explanation for its sudden disappearance, but, when I was able to crawl out into the sunshine, it rejoined me in mid-bound, materializing as a black sickle leaping from rock to rock and closing the distance between us. I put my weight against a stone for support, to catch my breath and to catch a sense of relief that I was still alive and that my wounds were yet minor. The Good Dog landed beside me with all the noise of a leaf falling to earth and something in my chest seemed to leap out to meet it, as a soul springing to embrace another.

I heard a wordless noise of scorn from the Emerald Jewel, which carried across our languages with silk-smooth transliteration.

The Good Dog sank down on his haunches beside me, watching as I also watched. A thin, particularly cold wind sluiced up the brook's depression, ruffling the long, soft hairs in his ears so that they caught the light and turned translucent, elongating into silver gossamer that the wind continually snipped off in tiny drifting threads. I leaned against the bulk of his shoulder and hid my abused cheek in his fur. So close to him, I could see the swell and fade of minute orange flame-veins in every hair, lighting as he breathed, turning down like a lamp as the great breath flushed from his nostrils.

A shrill whistle dropped my awareness downward; the Emerald Jewel had paused on the track, turned to look up at me frozen against the skyline. "Come, kitty," she ordered; "or did you also learn cowardice from the blue dux?"

The Roman Orchid shot her a wicked look. The bubble was starting to form again, with the concentric moons: one was perfectly aligned in the fairy's left eye, and gave him a rabid appearance. "Yes, I resent," he replied venomously. "We slaughtered a life of good cloth for this--this worthless stillborn whelp. You saw! She could not even scream, with her maggoty face bloated with terror. She handles the reindeer like a drunk. And yet we suffer her to live," he concluded.
To my shock, the Emerald Jewel laughed softly, under cover of a pitch-smoky gust of wind, and replied, "I heard you say yourself, this is what you get when you make deals with devils. She may indeed be trampled by the deer one day, or swallowed by a forest-spirit, but for my part," again she shrugged, "I am willing to whip some trail out of her before she expires."
The Roman Orchid flicked out the fingers of both hands, as if throwing the whole business away. "Let the foolishness rest between your feet, then," he drawled. "You carry the cloth; don't come yelping to me if it hurts."

There I made my error. My hand went out unthinkingly to the nearest stem; at the same instant, the Good Dog exploded into fullest, most solid form around me. My right shoulder seized as his supernatural jaws clamped over them, wrenching back - simultaneously, and then overwhelmingly, my hand gripped a whorl of leaves and red, searing agony rammed into the palm of my hand like an imitation crucifix. Every bone in my body shuddered stiff like ramrods, my own jaw grit down so that the only sound I made was a horrible suffocating squeal like an animal being pressed out under a rock. Black spots, blue auras, sudden flashes of orange light, crashed through my eyes and filled my head until I had the galaxy warring in my skull.

Sounds like fun??  What a relief to be able to include dialogue! XD I'm pretty pleased with where I'm headed, even if I'm not sure how to get there.  I hope you enjoyed the snippets, anyhow!

until next time, cheerio!
xoxo, jenny