I don’t have any direct experience with dominatrices (is that the right plural?) but I take vicarious pleasure in their wardrobes — all that black leather and rubber, although the stilettos would probably kill me. (I’m more of a Doc Martens type myself.)
Nevertheless, as a mild-mannered textbook editor, I’ve been thinking a lot about discipline, boundaries and tough love recently.
I’ve written about creative constraints, but not much about how editors have to restrain their own impulses and hold the line on many aspects of book writing. Do we want to let our authors wax on for three pages about their favorite sub-topic? Of course we do (we’re geeky enough to find that particular subtopic fascinating.) But that overemphasis won’t help the book when it’s scrutinized by competitors’ sales reps. Would we prefer to skip that last round of revision? Naturally we would (we suffer from revision fatigue, too) — but we know that final pass through the manuscript will improve our chances of success in the market. Would we like to allow our authors to include their favorite but marginally-relevant picture in the book? Of course we would (we like happy authors as much as the next guy) — but the page space and permissions budget it eats up means we have to pull another image that might have earned us more adoptions. One of our toughest tough-love assignments is finding material to eliminate in a revised edition: reviewers and users are generous with suggestions of what to add, but less forthcoming about where to cut in order to keep the length under control.
The truth is, editors are not really Grinches. We’re more like the Tooth Fairy: we stealthily reward sacrifice with a more-than-equivalent gain. And in the end, everybody’s happy.
Instead of a picture of a dominatrix in uniform, I’m including photos of Prince. Man did that guy know how to dress! No restraint here!