A Question for Eve

And you don’t have to answer if you don’t wish.

Just wondering how often you sit down to write a day, and how long you write when you do (or if it’s a page quantity, how many pages).

“And he, he himself, the Grinch,
carved the roast beast.”

Well, it depends what my deadline is.

I had to get my last book finished a lot quicker than I wanted to, so I made myself sit down and write one hour each night after work, and two hours a day on weekends–but that was a bit much. Emergency writing.

My Movieline columns I can knock off in a couple of hours on a weekend (yikes–don’t tell my editor!), but with a book I usually have enough leeway to let myself goof off for a week or so once in awhile.

“Inspiration?” Ha! That’s for amatuers. If I waited for a muse to strike me, I’d never get anything done.

Another question you don’t have to answer but I’d like to know. . .

How long did it take for you to get your first work (column, short story, whatever) completed?

For me, eight years and running. . .
– Sylence

I don’t have an evil side. Just a really, really apathetic one.

Well, I was ludicrously lucky with my first book, which set me to thinking, “ah–this is EASY!” Then reality set in.

I got the Jean Harlow book published by a good company, after only a handful of rejections, it got good reviews, made money, etc. Then I couldn’t get another book published for years–had all kinds of proposals shot down, till finally a small company took on the Theda Bara project. Now, I’m hooked up with a good University Press (U of KY), and I will be happy as ten clams if I can stick with them, do a book every four or five years. I’ll never make real money from my books, but I love doing them.

As for my magazine work, Movieline’s editor sent me a fan letter when Jean Harlow came out and I said, “thanks–hire me!” They did, and that led to other mag jobs. Now I’m editing, which is a “step up” in the mag world, but not nearly as interesting.

Well, as long as this thread is becoming the “Ask Eve” column, I also have a question about the magazine business. As you mentioned you are now listed as an editor in the magazine which regularly features your work. I often see magazines that credit the majority of their regular writers as editors. I always thought the two professions were distinct, so what’s the story about being an editor rather than a writer. Does this mean that the magazine accepts your work as written, so that you edit your own material? But from your post, you seem to be saying that editing duties are different from writing duties, so presumedly you are editing the works of others.

Titles are really a lot of nonsense. Generally speaking:

Editor-in-chief: head of the whole shebang.
Executive or Managing editor: main decision-makers and writer-hirers.
Senior editor: the one who does most of the actual hands-on editing, assigning (and some writing).
anything below that: edit, write, rewrite, assign, whatever’s left over. That’s where I am, basically.

Most magazines use a lot of freelance writers now, so they don’t have to pay benefits. “Contributing editors” are usually freelancers, and do articles whenever needed.

As mixed-up as the magazine industry may be, just ask Ukulele Ike how screwed-up the BOOK industry is!