Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Introduction to Cindy Rosmus's Original ALL GONE

Over the weekend, you’ve been able to have a look at Cindy Rosmus's ALL GONE.

At least the version that appeared in Out Of The Gutter.

After I posted the story, I sent Cindy the usual note that I send all writers when one of their stories appears at A Twist Of Noir and I said that I thought that the girl at the end was the assassin until I was proven otherwise and the husband popped up.

Cindy responded and let me in on a little secret, that there was another version to ALL GONE.

It seems that the original version, the one that follows this introduction, was mulled over by an editor at Out Of The Gutter and this editor told Cindy that it would be published if there was a revised ending (the one that you read over the weekend). Cindy told me that she worked on it with this editor, that she believes that she did more than one rewrite and still it was not good enough for him. She said that he changed so much of the story that it stopped feeling like it was her story.

I want to make it clear that Cindy never named names, doesn’t even remember who the editor was. I also want to make it clear that this kind of thing has been mentioned to me more than once, and not necessarily with Out Of The Gutter. I, myself, have experienced just such an incident, in which my story was only accepted after I changed a bit of it around and, even then, there were whole sentences and a paragraph or two removed.

This is something that absolutely drives me up the fucking wall where it concerns some editors.

A writer sits down, thinks up a story, transcribes it, hopefully looks it over and makes sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be and everything has been said that they wanted to say. And then they send it off to a publication of some sort, whether online or print, and they wait and they hope and they cross their fingers and they wait some more and sometimes they're kept waiting for a long, long time.

Eventually, an editor or a publisher or both will have something to say about this story that the writer waited and hoped over.

And this is where an editor can either help or hobble a story.

As an editor and a publisher, I am being asked to consider the story, read it, go over it with a fine-toothed comb and make sure everything is okay, everything makes sense and that the story will entertain if it does see print.

But there is a line. And it should be a stark line.

Just because I am in possession of a story does not make it my story. Even when I decide that, yes, it will be going up at A Twist Of Noir, it is still not my story.

I hope that I provide a safety net for writers, as well as a place for publication. If a story falls short of the mark, I hope that I acquit myself well in explaining why I think this is the case and what I think might help make it a story that I can publish.

What I do not do is tamper with someone’s story to the point where they feel that it isn’t theirs any longer.

That’s not an editor; that’s, at best, a collaborator and, at worst, a thief.

The following is Cindy Rosmus’s original vision of ALL GONE, which starts out and runs to the middle of the story pretty much how you’ve read. But the ending, it don’t end the same. Not by a longshot.

I’m of the opinion that it ends much better than the other ending.

You be the judge.

Feel free to make comments here and at the story itself and let us know which ending you prefer.

3 comments:

Richard Godwin said...

I totally agree with what you say Christopher. As an editor you never cross the line, you are always constructive and helpful.

ajhayes2 said...

I think we've all been there and know just how bitter the taste is when your story gets hijacked. I completely changed the last line of one of my best poems once to get a 65 dollar paycheck. Vowed then never again. Big dittos about you as an editor, Christopher.

Elaine Ash said...

Two in a row, Cindy! Prolific talent.
Elaine Ash