I realize that it is an unusual practice to post on a literary blog with the aid of a dog but Duke the Chihuahua is no ordinary canine. He is an astute pooch and has saved me unnecessary grief on a number of occasions. There are, no doubt, those who, upon reading this, might have an overwhelming urge to dial 911 and ask for assistance for a delusional wordsmith but I assure you that I am completely in my right mind. And Duke would be quite miffed at the implication that he was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. So what can a pampered and slightly overweight Chihuahua add to a writer's web site? Plenty.
For example, Duke has just, in the past few days, pointed out to me the folly of his retaining the services of an `editor' without doing a background check first. I must say, as you might have read on my website blog, that I did warn the little fluff ball but Duke is a rather independent sort and paid no heed whatsoever.
"Does the editor have some sort of certificate or credential to verify an education in editing? Is there a list of references? A track record of employment at a publishing house?" All of these queries and more I put before my canine friend and he merely flicked a foxy ear, popped that button nose into the air and continued to seal and stamp his envelope.
It is quite tempting to remind poor Duke of those questions now as he sits and stares at his online bank balance. It is very low I assure you. That editor didn't come cheap and when I read the final draft from Duke's purchase my eyes just about bugged out as much as his do on a normal day. My fuzzy friend had been had. The manuscript was a mess. And suddenly he had a burning desire to check into credentials—which didn't exist. Duke has since continued to grumble about the expense of an editor that didn't do his job and I am quick to remind him.
"Ah Duke, my champion of the writing industry, you remember what I've said in the past? That an editor is worth their weight in gold?" He could see it coming. "You've paid the weight in gold but have foregone the editing." What could he say? Duke will be the first to tell you that a qualified editor is a must in writing. He simply had a lapse in common sense in the excitement of having finished that first book.
"So Duke, what piece of advice would you offer the readers from your store of experience?"
Mournful eyes relay the answer with eloquence. Don't trust the phrase `I'm an editor' without checking it out first?
Yes, wise advice. Whoever told you that must have been smart indeed Duke and you can stop growling at me now.
By Donna Fawcett
Donna's e-book 'Fires of Fury' can be found at
Donna Fawcett is a creative writing instructor for Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. She has written three suspense novels under the pen name of Donna Dawson. 'Fires of Fury' is her first romance novel. Donna's third suspense novel won Best Canadian Contemporary Novel and Best Canadian IP Novel in The Word Guild Awards.