|Vince Gilligan: Creator, Executive Producer/Showrunner, and Head Writer for Breaking Bad|
You know that section in almost every book, particularly non-fiction, where the author spends a couple of pages basically listing the names of everyone s/he needs to thank? That little section at the beginning or end of a book that readers like me generally skip? Ever notice how there's always a paragraph of fulsome praise devoted to whoever the editor of the book was? Well, turns out that's not bullshit.
Our editor for Wanna Cook? The Unofficial Companion Guide to Breaking Bad is the incredible Jen Hale, who also writes books under the nom de plume of Nikki Stafford. So what's been happening over the past month is that Dale and I polish off a season's episode guide and shoot it off to Jen, who reads through the thing line by line and marks it up, rewording things here, suggesting places we can cut, and catching us in all sorts of repetitions, omissions, etc. The cutting has proven to be a vital element as our contract with ECW specifies a book with a certain total number of words, while Dale and I tend to write more than we necessarily need to about this and that in an attempt to make Wanna Cook as comprehensive as possible. Also, because we like the sound of our own writing.
So Jen marks it up, sends it back to us and we go through the season and basically say "Wow, how can Jen be so right so often?" and make any further changes or arguments for something to stay and send it back. Jen goes through it again, sends it back to us for one last sweep, and then it's off to the copy editor. During this process, Jen somehow manages to make Wanna Cook better with each pass. Don't get me wrong, it was good when we sent it to her the first time, but after her line edits, it's great! The biggest thing is that Jen is our editor, meaning that she has been and continues to be on our team, working to make Dale and I look good, and the book stronger. She is a true partner and collaborator, and at this point, I simply cannot imagine doing the book without her, nor do I want to. If you buy the book, read it, and say to yourself "Wow, that was a great look at a great series," then you have Jen to thank for a huge chunk of that.
So for anyone out there publishing a book, take the time to get to know your editor, and if you get a good one, fight like hell to keep him/her. Wives are nice (Love you honey!), but a editor like Jen is truly a pearl beyond price.
That's it for this week, Readers Mine. I'll close with a heads up: now that the March Madness of Wanna Cook is over, April is Research Paper Month, meaning that those papers I put on the back burner last month all have to get written by the end of this one. Meth Monday will still be here every week, but from here on out things are likely to become short and sweet until I get through the month. As usual, however, you can get all the latest Breaking Bad news and information that crosses my desk by following me on Twitter or on Facebook.
See you next week!