Saturday, January 22, 2011

Author/Editor? How Did THAT Happen?

   So Kimber An suggested that I write about how I became both an author and editor at the same time. It does make for an interesting story and I've really had to pick my own brain to think about how and where it all began. But what follows is the origin story of it. I'm a huge fan of mythology, and origin stories are great, so let's see how I do with writing one of my own...
   Well, Kimber refers to me as the "Grammar Goddess" sometimes and I'm quite flattered by this, since it wasn't always the case. As a matter of fact, all through school, up through high school, I hated grammar. I didn't understand why it was important or what I would ever use it for and it was boring as all getout. After all, I had more important things on my mind back checking out the cute guys in my classes (sigh). What changed that all for me is that I had to take a required grammar class for my English degree when I got to college and went for my B.A. I took a class by a professor named Jonathan Price, and it turned out that he'd written a book called Grammar Demystified. Sure, I thought - as I sat at the front of the class because I knew that otherwise I would surely nod off or not do the work - demystify it for me. But the amazing thing was that he did. It began to make sense and I realized that grammar really is important because it defines the way in which we use language. And personally, I wouldn't have felt like I had really "earned" my English degree if I didn't get past the obstacles holding me back from learning grammar.
   So Professor Price taught me to like grammar and to not be scared of it. Well, I got out of college and job searched for a LONG time. When I finally got a job with the State, I was relieved, but I didn't know how I was going to use the B.A. degree I got in English. After about a year and a half of State work, I heard that Decadent Publishing had started up and that they needed editors. I had written a novel called Fallenwood, and some other random pieces of fiction, but I'd tried submitting to what seemed like a million publishers, and all to no avail. So I stuck with editing for a while. I'd never done any kind of professional editing before and wasn't really sure what it was going to be like, but with a steady footing in English and grammar, I felt confident that I could handle it.
   So I took the test and submitted it, and not too long afterwards, became an editor for Decadent. I started editing other people's work and decided that I should try and submit something of my own. So I sent "The Devil's Bidding" in for submission, expecting it to be rejected like all the other times it had been rejected by publications before. At the time, I had a notebook that I would tape rejection letters into, and it had become a sort of collection of mine. I wanted to be able to add another page into my rejection notebook and collect the Decadent logo. What I got was something much cooler - the first acceptance for one of my stories. And that's how I became an author/editor at the same time.
   One of the great things about being an editor and author at the same time is that I have learned to be better about editing my own work. I used to hate editing the things I'd written. Once they were written, I didn't want to take a second look at them. This was a good thing to get over, since I've recently had to do a lot of editing for my upcoming novel Fallenwood.
   Thanks, Kimber, for giving me the opportunity to blog here!

Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.



Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,
Just stopping by to say hello. Thanks for the great post!

Maureen said...

That is a pretty cool story and sounds like a fascinating class. I always explore the origins of words, especially naughty words. And though I don't always know what would be right, grammar wise, I can generally tell when something is wrong.

As I said, sounds like an interesting class! Wish I'd seen something like that when I was flitting around from class to class.


Kathleen said...

Hi Leslie,

I enjoyed reading your post. I think it's fantastic to be both editor and author. It must be a lot of work, but fun.

All the best with your upcoming release, Fallenwood.

Ann Mayburn said...

Hi Leslie!

That really is a cool story of how you got to where you are. I always find it interesting how things never seem to turn out how we expect, and usually for the better.

JM said...

Very cool post! I never understood grammar either, but I kind of had an ear for what sounded correct. That's what got me through school. I think my editors rock, because it's one thing I can't do.

Nayuleska said...

That's amazing Leslie. Fallenwood looks awesome!

Ellen Keener said...

Interesting how you managed to get into grammar. I wish I'd had that kind of english teacher in college!