Peeves are good to know about but not strict rules, continued

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.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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