An addendum to the previous “pet peeves” entry and more support for the idea that if you DO know the editor you’re submitting to, you might well be ahead of the game. (For one thing, you won’t name your evil villain ‘Lance’ if her son’s name is Lance. And you won’t have the hero be an accountant if she has just been screwed over by an accountant.)
The famous multiply published suspense novelist Allison Brennan notes in an e-mail to the RWC mailing list: “Editors have their pet peeves. All editors do. It doesn’t make them right, but if you’re writing for a specific line or house and have that editor, you do learn their quirks–and I agree, you need to deal with that accordingly. My editor hated in one of my books when the hero called my heroine ‘Babe.’ Okay, I don’t like it either, but it was so in character for him. But it colored everything she saw about him. It, coupled with a few other mannerisms and actions, made her think he was low-class and crass. I ended up cutting all but two or three for effect. Another time she hated the hero’s name. Strongly suggested I change it. (Fortunately, that was in a two-sentence proposal so it wasn’t like I really knew him. I probably would have fought to keep his name if I wrote a whole book already.) [Yasmin’s editor] thinks [flashbacks are] boring. Doesn’t mean ALL editors do. I have read boring flashbacks. Not all are boring.”
For the past couple of years, Allison has published three books a year in her suspense trilogies. I’ve never seen that done before, so they must really believe in her–and the books are doing well! They’re in my grocery store racks. If only I could get just ONE of my books published and into the grocery store racks . . . well, the ensuing cavorting might cause riots, so maybe the Universe knows what it’s doing.