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Four-letter words and helpless laughter

For a writer, working with an editor can be a challenge. There's the editor who wants you to write it exactly how he would have written it, or the editor who barely touches your work. (Did he even read it, you wonder?) Just how do you deal with it?

But it's not a cake walk for the editor either. She has to deal with fragile egos, attachments to unnecessary text, and the writer's inability to see the forest for the trees. 

The editor/writer pair Kate Cassaday and Gail Vaz-Oxlade share their stories on how they make the relationship work. 

Kate Cassaday, editor


With Gail, it's a loud conversation. One where nothing is off limits. And often one littered with four-letter words and helpless laughter. I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Take, for instance, the editing of Gail's most recent book, Never Too Late. That conversation started even before we'd acquired the book. Gail tells the story in NTL's introduction—how I called after reading a blog posting she'd written about how hopelessly adrift Canadians are in planning their retirement. I was adamant that retirement should be her next subject. She told me to go away. Not in those words. But then, in time, she listened." Read more from Kate »


Gail Vaz-Oxlade, writer 


The girl knows her job cold. And she has a winsome way of getting exactly what she wants. I'm not known for being the easiest person to work with: I have very definite ideas of how things should be. And yet Kate, who is as long on good sense as she is in the legs, has me eating out of the palm of her hand.

The first time Kate and I spoke on the phone I told her just what I thought of the Canadian publishing industry. I could just hear her sitting back in her chair and saying, "Oh!" (I now know she also turned bright red as she listened to me rant.) But Kate didn't run screaming from the room. She never backs down. She knows what will make my writing better, and she's determined that I hear her out before I tell her to f--- off." Read more from Gail »


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