I have recently become involved with a couple of online magazines in order to 1) practice my writing and 2) get some samples going. One, the Coil Review, is awesome. It started in June of this year and is professionally and beautifully done. Soon, my very first article will be published on that site. The other is a site that, at this moment, I will refrain from mentioning. Not that the site won’t be great…it looks like it has a lot of potential and once it gets it together, I think it is going to rock. But right now, it is a work in progress. The real reason I don’t want to give the site out yet is that this work in progress has already posted some of my work in progress. Oh, cool! Let us know where it is, Stephanie! No. Here is where I am starting to understand the differences in editors and editing techniques. On this particular unripe site, the editor has decided to post the definitely unedited version of one of my stories. This version has cute little notes to myself in parentheses and in bold, such as “don’t know where he was born…want to put in…come back to.” I use “come back to” a lot, because you know what, I was going to COME BACK to it. I sent this article to the editor because I needed help. He obviously didn’t look at it…just said, cool beans, let me slap that mess up on the site, woo hoo! I wrote him to remind him (because I certainly said in my first email to him that that version was a DRAFT that needed HELP) that the particular article he had up on the site was not the final draft. I asked him if I should just send him the final (as final as it was going to get with just me looking through it) draft to post, or if I could just somehow change it myself. He said it was no problem, send him the “final” draft (at least the draft that doesn’t show me being a schizo writer talking to myself), and he would post it. That was two days ago. My bootleg draft version of the article is still up. Thus and therefore, no one is getting a link, not until my bootleg final version is up.
Now, this leads me to my experience with the editor of the Coil Review. Just like the site itself, my relationship with her has been professional. I had a deadline for submitting article topics. She wrote me back about which one she liked most. I wrote an article on that topic and had a deadline for sending it to her. She sent it back with a multitude of comments and concerns. Needless to say, it was a bit shocking at first to see all those write-ups…felt like I was going back to middle school. But then, my pride decided to back off and I realized, I really don’t know how to write for this type of medium. I am a rambler (as many of you can probably tell by now), and her response to this was, this needs to be shortened, this needs to be cut, make this a page and a half (yeah, it was definitely about three pages), just make it concise and simple! The people who will be reading this site will not be primarily my friends and family, who love me so much that they put up with my rambling, listening and reading intently, knowing that eventually I am going to get to the core of the story. These will be people who don’t know or care about me…they want the story now! I should know about these people. I am exactly the same. When I read a magazine or some other informational press, I want to get to the bottom of the story right away, or I will just tune out. Whether it be ADD (which sometimes, I really question if I have) or just the fact that our society has become so impatient and high-strung, we don’t have the time or desire to sift through a lot of fluffy, pretty words. And this editor has helped show me how to at least begin to write in such a manner that won’t turn people off or make them go to sleep.
So, I sent her a revised draft, she sent me another edit of my revised draft, I sent her back the revised revised draft…and now I am waiting. Hopefully, my article (which looks very unlike the first draft) will be posted soon. And hopefully, the next time I write an article for her, it will take me only a few days to do instead of a few weeks. Practice makes good (and good editors make perfect).