In A world Gone Mad: Saturday 13 June 2020...2
I finished editing Paul’s book yesterday, that’s another one in the bag. The paid one I’m currently working is deadlined for tomorrow and I have thirty pages left to do. It was a long one of 132,000 words and thirty pages sounds like nothing. However, I have had to rewrite this book sentence by sentence, so I am right on the threshold of my two week customer deadline.
This is, by a clear mile, the worst book I have ever worked on. Tenses change three times every sentence. POV changes mid-sentence. He has no understanding, whatsoever, about composition or how to structure a story. He references every film, program, song and television advert he’s ever seen or heard in every sentence. In one sentence they are Thelma and Louise, the next they are Simba and Nala, and sometimes they can be four movie characters in the same sentence. He has stolen every scene from the film, Would you Rather, and didn’t even have the intelligence to invent his own punishments—he took them straight from the movie. His hero is Christian Grey as he’s referenced thirty-one times in the book. His sex scenes are the worst I’ve ever read and there are three of them pretty much repeated, word for word, in every chapter. He picks a character, or many characters, choses a hole and then lists a series of two-word phrases. Deeper and deeper, faster and faster, harder and harder, over and over and the list goes on.
He wrote the same sex scene seven times. The first time he sees the female lead she is standing against a fence. He fantasises about having sex with her.
Then he writes her fantasising about having sex with him. This could have been a clever move, but it’s almost word for word the same as his version.
Thirty pages later, he remembers that night and recounts it again—only now it isn’t fantasy he’s forgotten that he wrote that he only fantasised about having sex with her and it’s morphed into an actual event.
Later she remembers the first night and fantasises about it, so we have another wank over a shag that never happened—but now it did.
Later, in the middle of an intense action scene—the three heroes have found where the baddies are keeping the female lead, they have to go and rescue her—but first all three of them take a shower and all three of them have a wank, thinking about that first night—but two of the three weren’t even there.
We have somebody glaring at somebody else—but they are blindfolded at the time.
The female lead is tied to a table, in a cellar after being subjected to three days of rape and violent torture by twelve men. She’s tied to a table, she’s been through hell. Various body parts are broken and she’s in and out of consciousness—but she gets one hand free. Does she try to free the other one? Does she try to escape?—No, she has a wank.
The rape scenes are grim reading and are borderline—report this author to the police—however, I am here to do a job, if the boss decides that it’s not suitable material to send back, that’s up to him. I do what I’m told to the best of my ability. During the rape, a man is banging away at this poor girl and with all the other men’s fluids sloshing around down there he slips out and slides up her arse. We change POV in the middle of a sentence and the girl thinks, Oops, silly billy, wrong hole, but actually it feels quite nice really.
And what’s most annoying about this awful book is the boss did a deal on it.
We have a ridged pricing structure. We are among the cheapest in the country and I don’t know of any other editing company that gives a three-way edit. I treat every book as if it were my own—even the cesspit of shit I’m currently working. I do what I can to make it better. I don’t claim to be a professional editor, hence the pricing, but I am better than most of my clients and can improve what I’m given to work with.
Most of my clients are terrible writers. Our first service is a line-by edit. I go through it, sentence by sentence, and often re-write the book so that it makes some kind of grammatical sense. The second service we offer is a comment box edit, as I work, I leave comments to encourage when I come to something I like and to point out why I’ve suggested a change. The third service is a 5,000 word overview of the book.
We are cheap, we are fast, and, I’m biased, but I work very hard at what I do and take it seriously. It’s only my opinion, and the feedback from our clients, but I think we’re good. An average book takes me about sixty hours to complete. This one has been a lot more. We charge two-hundred and forty pounds for up to 100.000 words and three-hundred and sixty pounds for the next bracket of up to 200,000 words. My boss takes a pittance at forty pounds for the first bracket and sixty for the second and I get the rest. He’s very fair and I get the lion’s share of the payment. He does the marketing, deals with finance and with the clients and I edit the book. For what he gets from it, I’ve often wondered why he does it. He doesn’t need the money as I do.
I love my boss to the moon and back. I call him my boss because he needs a name for my diary and Boss is as good as any other and because he’s the money man and is responsible for the legalities of it. I take my pay and leave the rest to him. He has the headache of dealing with diva clients—I don’t. But, God bless his lovely heart, he’s a pleaser and can’t say no to anybody. Because I’ve been whingeing about the work I have to do for the reward I get –he’s put the prices up by a few quid. I squealed, I sang, and I danced –and mostly I appeased Max who is pissed off at me for never being anywhere but my office for the last nine weeks. I have edited six complete novels for other people, paid and unpaid, in nine weeks, that’s pretty good going by anybody’s standards.
And then I read the email properly. My boss thinks he’s an Eastend Barra Boi with his wheeling and dealing.
’Caam on. Caam on. Caam and see what oive got`ere fer yer. Foive loverly books edited for a tennner. You don’t wanna pay a tennner? No problem my lovely, we’ll do it for—nah, not for eight quid—not even for seven quid. Not for Foive or fouwer or free. We’ll edit foive of your loverly novels for a lost and found moi darling. One single pound, but don’t tell the old man, eh.’
My boss loves to do a deal. So, we’ve put up our prices—so that we can knock them down to what I get now.
Our prices are ridged for several reasons—well they’re supposed to be.
If we’re too cheap , people will think we’re rubbish.
If our clients get wind that another writer has paid less than them, they’ll be pissed.
And, if they want to barter let them go to Istanfuckingbull.
This book should have gone out at three-hundred and sixty pounds. I should receive three-hundred. I’ve worked a minimum of ten hours a day for two weeks on this piece of crap and the author, what a title, is getting it for two-hundred and forty because he complained that it’s only 32,000 words over the 100,000 price change line. And it’s nowhere near the 200,000 word limit at the top end of the bracket. He felt that he shouldn’t have to pay the full amount for only going over by a third.
Tough shit, Wankyboy. Suck it up, Buttercup, and either pay what we charge or go somewhere else and try and get what we offer cheaper.
It’s me that’s had to suck it up, the book is awful, it’s sexist, demeaning to women and the slime oozes from every page. The writer must have waterproof protection on his keyboard. I doubt he’s read a word of erotica in his life and is taking his inspiration from internet porn where the slutty with the perfect body is sitting on a man saying, ‘Yes, yes, harder, harder, faster, faster, deeper, deeper.
Our prices are not ridged, but I am. For clients going through the company, If it went one word over the 100,000 I’d be getting back to the client and saying, ‘Look, it has gone over wordcount by one word. That word is going to cost you a hundred and twenty quid. Do you want to have a look at your doc and take a word out before I put the charge through.’ But my boss is a softie, and he has to cope with me and my ridgidity, so it’s all good.
Until we come to a new author, with a series of five books. Assuming they are all under 100,000 words, I should be making a flat grand on them for, hopefully, five weeks work. My boss has agreed to do the five books for six hundred pounds all in. Wow. I think I need to tie him to mateyboy’s table and gag him.
On the up-side it can’t be as bad as this one—can it?