Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm Enjoying This Too Much

What editors want is a thing like unto the Holy Grail for writers. We'd love to know what they want. What some of them need, however, is a primer on English literature.

A cheeky writer in England sent off barely disguised manuscripts of Jane Austen's best known works to major publishing houses, to see if Jane could get a contract these days. He even left intact perhaps her most famous line, which opens Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

He received universal rejections, but only one had the nerve to call him on his blatant plagiarism. Penguin's editor even wrote that his ideas seemed really original!

I had to stop and wonder why I'm enjoying this so. It seems like karma has run over their dogma, if you follow. After scolding writers on everything from adverb usage to 'you used the word that too much' to heroines' hair color, they can't even pick up on a plotline from Jane Freaking Austen?

It's funny. C'mon, you know it's funny! Of course, it isn't funny when I realise that somewhere along the line I started viewing editors as the enemy. Not a professional who knows exactly what her line needs and looks for the best candidate. Not a hard-working book lover who has to slog through a slush pile two feet deep. Not a partner to help me publish the best book possible. But the enemy, whose gates I have to storm because he is keeping me from getting my prize.

Which leads me back to my original question. What do editors really want, anyway?


Anonymous Michelle said...

I've heard that story, and part of me wonders whether it was urban myth. I could imagine an editor recognizing it and slapping a form rejection on it, not bothering to add anything further.

I think what they want is a book so good it makes them forget they're an editor...and makes them remember they're a reader. :) Good luck!

3:23 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

Every now and then someone pulls this gig.
Which doesn't prove anything really, except that editors may be overworked and sometimes may fall into a "Next!" pattern of dismissal.
Just feeds writer paranoia.

7:41 AM  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

Hi Robyn! I've heard of this happening with other classic writers being sent off and receiving rejections.

Hey, do you happen to know of any writer's crit groups in our "town" who might be looking for new members or who might want to start a writers' group? I have another young lady (she has an agent who is shopping around her fantasy novel)who is looking and I'm even interested.

If you do let me know! Thanks ~Liz

4:11 PM  
Blogger StarvingWriteNow said...

Editors want what we all want: a home in the suburbs, a white picket fence, 2.3 children and 2 weeks vacation every year. But, since they chose the profession they did, they aren't getting any of it. So in retaliation for being denied the "American Dream", they change their minds about every 2.3 SECONDS concerning what they want! Just a little "back at ya" from Madison Avenue, folks. Don't you feel all loved now?

4:48 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Hey Liz- I do know of one, and there is a contest by the Dreamers Studio (on Main St., next to Copia and the tattoo shop NO I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP) so if you want to email me at I'll shoot you the details.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

Dayum. One doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry, does one?!!

Do editors nowadays have ANY formal education at all, or are they just charming talk-a-lots that make people THINK they know what they're talking about?!

10:31 AM  

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