Monday, June 1, 2015

Confessions from the Editing Cave with Carol Pavliska

Welcome back to yet another installment of Confessions from the Editing Cave. Today in the confessional -- contemporary romance author, Carol Pavliska!

1. Tell us a bit about your background working with editor(s). Did you hire a freelance editor? Work with an editor at a publishing house? Work with an agent in the capacity of an editor? All of the above or some other combination?
The editor I worked with is at a publishing house. 

2. What was your overall relationship with your editor? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
What I needed in an editor was someone who knew what she was doing, would respond to emails and concerns in a timely manner, and would value my time as much as I valued hers. I definitely got those things with my editor. However, in addition to those few things I needed, there were a few things I wanted. I mean, I like to be petted and loved and complimented and endlessly fawned over as much as the next girl – as long as the next girl is a gaping black hole of neediness. It took a few (perfectly sane) e-mails for my editor to recognize that I was a delicate flower – like one of those ridiculous indoor orchids you get for Mother’s Day that requires a mister and non-chlorinated water for the three months it takes it to finally die. Once she learned how to pat me on the head and tell me my hair was pretty, we got along smashingly well.

3. What was the best edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
Honestly, I think when my editor goes to sleep every night she congratulates herself for having saved my hero from plaid pants. I still think plaid pants are sexy, but I have come to realize they might be an acquired taste that the masses are not quite ready for.

To Recap: Editorial Save of the Century—putting hot, sexy Julian in reasonable pants.

4. What was the worst edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
One time I put a hero in these fantastically awesome plaid pants and my editor insisted on removing them from his body and replacing them with boring pants in a solid color. Actually, I don’t think we even gave them a color. I think we just ended up calling them “pants.”

To Recap: Editorial Fail of the Century—removing hot, sexy Julian’s awesome plaid pants and not even for anything fun.

5. What was your first, initial, gut-reaction to your edits?
I’ve held friends’ hands while they opened editorial letters. And it was usually pretty awful. Logically, I knew that if I was ever lucky enough to receive an editorial letter of my own, it would probably be pretty awful. But I didn’t believe it. And that’s why I was surprised when it didn’t say, “Wow! This is perfect just as it is! Congrats!” 

Once the shock and awe wore off, I moved on to bitter devastation. I cried. I threatened to quit. Basically, I did all the usual things authors do when they receive their editorial letters only worse and with tequila. I’m absolutely amazed I have any friends left at all.

6. Confession time! Share anything else you’d like to confess.
The most valuable lesson I learned in working with my editor on Color Me Crazy is that most required edits are not as big as they seem. Often, a single sentence is all it takes. But you don’t realize that when you first read an editor’s comment. Everything looks gigantic – when in fact, much of it is very small. And nothing is personal. It just feels like it. 


Carol Pavliska began her writing career as a family humor columnist and blogger, a pursuit she abandoned when her children grew old enough to realize they were being exploited. To save them from further embarrassment, she turned to writing fiction. Her debut novel is a steamy contemporary romance so, unfortunately, the children are still embarrassed.

Carol and her husband, both diehard Red Hot Chili Peppers fans, raise their vegan brood of mortified offspring on a cattle ranch in south Texas. No lie. 

To connect with Carol, visit her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads