Writing and Editing, 41

“I’d known since girlhood that I wanted to be a book editor. By high school, I’d pore over the acknowledgments section of novels I loved, daydreaming that someday a brilliant talent might see me as the person who ‘made her book possible’ or ‘enhanced every page with editorial wisdom and insight.’ Could I be the Maxwell Perkins to some future Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe?” ~ Bridie Clark

Unlike Bridie Clark, the author of Because She Can, I was not intent on becoming a book editor “since girlhood”. My labor of love, editing, found a life in me approximately 20 years ago. I have had the fortune to work with a large number of authors who were gracious in their responses with reference to my editorial work. I am still enjoying that fortune. I appreciate every one of those writers for the trust and confidence they have in me. Will “I be the Maxwell Perkins to some future Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe?” This question has never entered my mind (nothing against the cited author). I absolutely love what I do as an editor in and for my discipline. My awareness and knowledge of and extensive experience with the challenges that arise for “my” dear authors as well as myself throughout the writing and editing processes do not and cannot change this fact.

Allow me to wear my other hat at this point . . .

In the likes of Bridie Clark, since middle school, I was acutely aware of the two passions I had – which became my life’s pursuits: teaching and creative writing. I have been fortunate to dedicate 40 plus years to the academia with a heavy focus on teaching as opposed to researching. I have only stopped teaching actively after my official retirement 2 years ago. As for my obsession with creative writing, it is an unending quest and it will remain so.  Besides, my own writings and self-editing techniques also help me gain a critical insight into all that which “my” authors” go through. Therein lies the beauty of what I have the opportunity to do; namely,  living two loves all at once from my desk: my love for writing and my love for editing.

 

Writing and Editing, 40

“Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress . . .” ~ Nick Hornby

While this site is not about “a writing class”, I consistently aim to provide an insight into the various steps of proofreading, a vital process that comes after our writing is (supposedly) done. I, therefore, am in total agreement with Nick Hornby’s statement. Happy ‘cutting back, paring down, winnowing, chopping, hacking, pruning, trimming, and ‘removing’ “every superfluous word” in your drafts! Remember to “compress, compress, compress . . .” – – – your readers will be utterly appreciative, if you do.

Writing and Editing, 38

I am not a fan of Stephen King’s novels. I do not care for the genres of his particular focus. A statement which is claimed to have come from him, however, appealed to me. “In the heat of the moment” – to use a cliché, we tend to get through the initial stages of our written drafts in a painstaking manner; yet, we neglect to observe, assess and critique the outcome as a whole.

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” ~ Stephen King

Writing and Editing, 36

Please, excuse the foul language in the quote I am sharing with you today. Also know that this approach is far from being my own stance on any of my editorial work. Still, the statement enticed me enough to invite you to a humorous thought . . . because when it comes to my own writings, I generally beat my drafts to death. As for the manuscripts of others, I am as gentle as a lamb. (Or so I want to believe . . .)

“I’ve found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.” ~ Don Roff

Writing and Editing, 35

“Editing. It’s like dieting; except a lot more violent.” ~ Leya Delray

I agree with this claim. I only want to add “self-editing” to the equation. When it comes to my own writings, I am often in a turmoil of a large variety of emotions, thoughts and judgments. I have recently completed a new book. Prose poetry. I forget how many drafts I have worked on (I am afraid to look at that folder . . .) And I know that the “best editing” will materialize on the print-copy, as my dear publisher would say. How about you?

Writing and Editing, 34

After we generate a text, we must keep the three Cs of self-editing in mind, before we share that draft with our readers: Clarity, Coherence, Conciseness. This primary rule is what professional editors (should) aim at.

“The goal of text generation is to throw confused, wide-eyed words on a page; the goal of text revision is to scrub the rods clean so that they sound nice and can go out in public.” ~ Paul J. Silvia

 

Writing and Editing, 33

For the time being, the cited author’s spatial preference does not appeal to me. His approach to editing, however, is in harmony with my stand on this profession.

“I work in my study, taking the collections of words that people send me and making small adjustments to them, changing something here and there, checking everything is in order and putting a part of myself into the text by introducing just a little bit of difference. (“Substitutions”)” ~ Michael Marshall Smith