Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle

Dear Writer,

So sorry to have to tell you that, in spite of the clarity of the original assignment and repeated efforts after submission of your article (4 days late, I might add) to further clarify the assignment and provide you with additional, step-by-step-instructions and criteria to help you meet said assignment (and not your wildly WTF interpretation thereof), you are FIRED.

For it appears, yes, that you are an egotistical windbag who has grossly over represented your talent, thus wasting my time and delaying production by at least a week because I now have to scramble to fill the spot of a major feature for which there is no other recourse but a swift and silent death.


Otherwise known as The Editor Who Never Wants to Hear Your Name Uttered in Polite Company Ever Again. Ever.


fishy said...

LOL @ "Monological imperatives"

Is it time for a margherita in your neighborhood? If not I suggest taking a baseball bat to a non essential object.

czar said...

Oh, to fire a writer. Moi, you're living large -- well, except for all the headache.

Go treat yourself to some ABQ cave shrimp. They should be ripe by now.


LẌ said...

I think I used to work with them! Or it was me!

moi said...

Fishy: Girl, you don't know what I have been mentally baseball-batting these days. I'd drink, only I'm afraid I wouldn't stop . . .

Czar: It is rather a Mussolini-esque feeling. I think I need to go buy a new outfit for my new incarnation as Enraged Editor. As for the shrimp, no surprise there. Whole state used be under a gazillion feet of water.

lx: No, I cannot imagine you coming up with anything as horrible.

Pam said...

Wish I knew more about this! All I do know is that one shouldn't piss off MOI!

moi said...

Pam: It's all about the very troubling devolution of quality magazine writing. Not once, not twice, but three times on this particular issue I am editing, supposedly well-known and skilled writers turned in stories I regard as the equivalency of a third grader's "what I did on my vacation" essay written in red crayon.

All three balked at my polite—and carefully outlined—directions for rewrites. Arteests, apparently, don't do no stinkin' rewrites. Well, I told them, Hemingway is an artist. You are not. You are a TOOL in the service of an overall voice and style.

I realize that good writing is part good editing, but this is ridiculous.

BlazngScarlet said...

I don't envy your job.
What I offer is a shit ton of booze that I paid very little for!
(Even Hemingway liked his Mojitos!)

What's your poison?!

Jenny said...

grrrrrrrrr. You're too bizzy for anyone jacking you around. I've had this happen when marketing people sit on schnizz for days/weeks and then act like there's nothing wrong with dumping on me and expecting our lead-times to remain the same. Plus, I know how you work and you very good at communicating so there's no reason you're now in this position.


moi said...

Blazng: Heyyyyyyyyy! Welcome back. Hope you had a nice vaycay. Tequila is my poison. Something silver, straight up, no forking around with salt and lime. Just give me a shot glass and the bottle. Much appreciated . . .

Boxer: Right? Also, I am very, very, very, very, very nice. Right up until the point when I am not. And then all hell breaks loose, bridges are burned, things are said, guns are waved. And I'm either fired myself or no one ever messes with me again.

LẌ said...

From my past life as a Technical Writer, I have a black T-shirt that says "RTFM."

Pam said...

Am not sure there are interesting magazine articles any more. Certainly not on the internet. Nothing I hate worse than clicking on a potentially interesting story and get nothing but streaming video that I have to minimize (because I am at work or sumthin'). I actually clicked on a Yahoo story today because it had an interesting headline and there was NO STORY AT ALL. Just a headline. No quality standards anywhere. This goes to Fishy's post about visual learning. I'm a visual learner. LIKE READING WORDS ON A PAGE. How much more visual do you need? Meanwhile, I am starting to understand generation yo a bit ... they are working in a cubicle environment, so to not be annoying to others, they must remain plugged in to some device. I feel a little rebellion creeping in. How old do you have to be to qualify for quirky old lady, anyway? I'm thinking I need to go all Betty White on some of the kids around the new office ;) Heh.

Anyway, isn't it true that those writers on a magazine have to meet certain standards or, guess what, another writer is on standby to jump into their place?

moi said...

lx: Around here, that would be at the very least Strunk and White.

Pam: Yes, and those standards are: A. Know how to craft a feature story. Not an essay, not a newspaper article, not a memoir. But a magazine FEATURE. B. Knowledge of the basics of spelling, grammar, syntax. C. Follow directions. Don't make up your own. D. If the magazine has a house style, imitate it. Don't do tongue-in-cheek when they are straight-laced, and vice versa.

All this can be learned. It's not rocket science. Some people do it better than others, sure, but everyone should have at least the basics down. And if their writing doesn't necessarily snap, crackle, or pop straight out of the gate, that's what the editor is for. I learned more in four months on a small weekly with an editor who was merciless in helping me reshape my words than I did in four years of school. If you get a good editor, check your ego at the door, and pay attention to them.

chickory said...

nobody has to write or think well anymore. if you can move your thumbs quickly and get a point across in 140 characters then you are a functioning Murkan! I remember reading in Vogue not too long ago the ballyhooed new writer on some journey to see clothing and stuffs in some foreign place - gah! how terrible and pointless it was. somebody's daughter? wife? socialite? I dunno how she got the gig!

I fired a client recently too - and it was instrumental in turning around the crushing case of blues I had. Indeed, the fog lifted and I was liberated. I have found that something always flows in to fill that money vacuum.

Way to go Moi! good riddance.

Haiku Monday theme is posted at chickory

moi said...

Chickory: I once did some research for a professor working on a book on the Civil War. Read a lot of soldiers' letters home. Letters from 18, 19 year old farm boys whose literary eloquence blows most of today's "professional" writers out of the water. What happens when we are no longer able to express ourselves with the written word? To deeply and thoroughly ponder big ideas, influence minds, and change hearts? Too, too scary to contemplate.

Aunty Belle said...

Man oh man, I could weep--yes, the Civil War letters is true writing. I have some on my desk right now--the originals, I mean: Handwritten pleas for information on lost loved ones, descriptions of deprivation, expressions of gratitude for assistance offered...heart breaking an' beautiful.

Iffin' them letters came over the transom today some editor would be bustin' out the Bollinger.They bury contemporary Columbia grads.

Ah, but you see, at the time of the CW, many still learned Latin an' Greek--an how did they learn them ole dead languages? Readin' the Bible, readin' Cicero, Readin' Homer, Herodotus, Tacitus... in other words, the readin' material was worthy of a man--had the insight of human wisdom learnt the hardest truest way--now we throw all that out. Not only do writers not write well, they doan read well written work.

Weep an' wail fer what we done let wash away on the tide of Political Correctness, an' the corruption of "education" to serve The Agenda.

moi said...

Aunty: To which I can only say: amen. And: read the classics, everybody!

fishy said...

@ Pam
You can actually read and enjoy the articles in Gardens&Guns.

@ Aunty & Moi
I am sure I need not repeat my grievances commentary on things like graphic novels for learning Shakespeare and other current American tragedies.

@ Chickory
It is very liberating to be released from stressing clients!
Good that you gave yourself permission to fire them.

fishy said...

PS Moi
I forgot!
You would not believe my baseball fantasies. Very therapeutic.

czar said...

@Chickory: A book designer that Moi and I have worked with once quoted me one of her credos: "A lack of planning on your part does not create an emergency on my part."

Of course, enforcing that sometimes becomes problematic.

darkfoam said...

Well, I have to sat that you stated your loathing quite succinctly. ... :)

BlazngScarlet said...

Ahhhh .... Tequila.
My kinda poison! =)
Patron Platinum (chilled) & a shot glass, anything more is a waste!

moi said...

Fishy: And a bat is so pot committed!

Czar: Exactly. If we did, we'd never pay the mortgage.

Foam: I was nicer in person :o)

Blazng: I will also make a case for Cuervo Silver 1800. Not bad.

grins said...

I knew you were nicer in person. I'm sorry you cant get on my site. I wonder if firefox has something to do with it? Probably it's my son playing video games and watching two movies at the same time while I'm working.