Sooner or later, every freelancer has a horror story if they stick with the writing long enough. Whether it was an indecisive editor, persnickety source, client who couldn't quite make up their mind, or simply a beast of a project or assignment, most writers have had their share of nightmare experiences. But rest assured--those sticky situations pop up in any kind of job. I deal with headaches at my day job every day, so I think I've gotten pretty good at handling difficult situations.
Writing-wise, my most nightmarish assignment to date started out very innocently. I put together my query (I sent 2 ideas to the editor, actually) and sent it off, crossing my fingers as I always do. A few days later I received a response from the editor--she liked my idea but would I mind changing the focus a bit? "A bit" can mean a lot of things, so being the newbie I was (this was probably only my second assignment or so), I was completely agreeable. Well "a bit" turned out to be "a complete shift". The editor went from my rather specific topic to something much more broad and, to my unskilled way of thinking, confusing. I emailed questions almost weekly as I plodded through interviews; she would get back to me right away but somehow still not answer my questions.
Long story short? The final article turned out to be COMPLETELY different than what I'd originally pitched; my second story idea never saw the light of day. I usually get a little bit of a rush seeing my stories appear in print; this time I was disappointed in the final version, since it was nothing like what I'd planned to write. I was also very frustrated with the editor who had all but overlooked my concerns and questions. I haven't written for them since.
What nightmare projects do you care to share?