Thursday, November 13, 2008

On falling in love (editorially)


Being a junior editor is a bit like being in junior high all over again, I think. It's a world of thrillingly, terrifyingly wonderful possibility. Like, eek! Who will my friends (read: authors) be? What will the rest of the world think of me and said friends (authors) and the stuff we like to talk about (read: make books about). Will the cool kids (read: librarians, booksellers, book reviewers, and bookbuying-world-at-large) think we're cool, or will they post mean things on the bathroom wall (read: on Amazon) about us? And will I ever-ever-ever find a boyfriend (read: manuscript to buy) of my very own?

And if you're not tired of this analogy yet, I can take it a little further. When I was in junior high, one of the key differences between me and my fellow classmates--or so it felt--was that most of the other girls around me fell madly in love with a different guy approximately every 0.13 seconds. Not me. Oh, don't get me wrong, I spent an awful lot of time desperately wanting to BE in love. But Real Love. So, I nursed the same ridiculous crush for over a year. Erm, possibly two years. Uh, possibly longer. (Perhaps my memory gets hazy here in direct proportion with the amount of embarrassment I caused myself?) In my mind, there was no reason to abandon that crush for a new one because that one S.O.S. (that's Some One Special, just in case you never had reason to scrawl it all over your folders in hot pink glitter pen) never stopped making me laugh. Plus he was smart. And deep. And fascinating. Also, I was exceedingly loyal (read: stubborn).

And as an editor, I see folks around me falling in love (read: making deals on Publishers Lunch) all the time. And I have lots of friends (read: agents) telling me, "Hey, isn't this guy (read: manuscript), like, sooo super-fine and cute! You should totally like him! And tell him you like him! And ask him to the dance! (read: And pay a gazillion dollars for it at auction!)" And it's tempting to pick a new crush-worthy manuscript to flirt with every week, just to make everyone happy. But then I remember, I'm a long-term girl, no different than when I was in 7th grade. If I'm going to have a crush (read: work on a book) for 2+ years, then I have to want to do more than just scrawl Mrs. Molly Manuscript on all my folders. I want to really BE in love. Real Love. With a project that makes me laugh for years. One that is smart. And deep. And fascinating. One that's earned my intense loyalty.

So at the moment, I'm looking hard for an S.O.S (read: Superb Original Story) that makes me fall in love. And I can't wait to tell you when I've found it!

6 comments:

Kathryn Fitzmaurice said...

I loved your post today. It was perfect, analagy and all. Keep your pink glitter pen in the drawer until you find the one...you will.

Kathryn Fitzmaurice said...

oops, a.n.a.l.o.g.y

beth said...

This is a brilliant post! Thank you so much for sharing it.

Sue said...

Very funny and familiar. As in, almost too-afraid-to-admit familiar. As in, I don't think I'll sign my name to this familiar. In the end, trust your instincts and wait until it feels right. Something I am learning to trust in and hopefully will teach my five kids to do so as well. Good luck!

chandlermariecraig said...

Too funny. Who didn't love the hot pink glitter pens?

Alps said...

This was a great post! Thanks for the laugh. I remember those days all too well. Now I know exactly what it's like to be a children's book editor.