Authors and their editors fight.
After my first novel, my wife told me that I needed to introduce a truly evil villain in my next novel, Seldom As They Seem.
Machete Juarez arrived in Big Bay during chapter twelve. He is a horrific character with no redeeming qualities what so ever.
When my editor received the initial manuscript she contacted me and simply said, “Richard, take him out of the script, expunge him during the rewrite. He is a horrible creature!”
I replied, “Lisa, if I have you this upset, I have succeeded. It’s my novel, he stays.”
By the end of the novel, most readers love Machete. They recognize his lack of a decent childhood — growing up in the ghettos of Mexico City, existing like an alley cat.
In the end, Machete is an example of redemption. I didn’t see that coming. When he first walked into Poor Joe’s, I would have put money on something awful happening.
This is the life of an author. Sometimes our editors are right. Not this time. I am, however, a better writer because of my editor’s mentoring.
In a recent conversation with novelist James Rollins, he told me that he is often nervous waiting for his novels to come back from his editor. (He has had the same editor for all of his books).
“Oh, she takes me to the woodshed every time,” he told me.
As I work on my fourth novel in the Big Bay series, preparing to send it to my editor, I can’t help but smile while thinking about that conversation with the New York Times bestselling author James Rollins.
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