The spectre of editing

Posted on July 28, 2012


Having reached the lofty ranks of people with their own book being published by a ‘real’ publisher (OK, it’s only a novella being published by small press in the UK, but allow me my brief moment of grandiose self-appreciation), this in turn lead to the dreaded final editing phase.

I freely admit to being an appalling self-editor, quite probably worse than average. It seems the more I study a wretched piece of prose, the more I see what I want to be there rather than what is. It was only on seeing the actual proof that I discovered errors that had slipped through. Oh shit. So another editing phase was put back in my hands. After I finished crying out “woe is me,” I was able to talk an editor friend of mine into going through it for me as well. Between the pair of us we (meaning mainly her) discovered a real barrow-load of things that needed fixing up.

So there’s lesson number one – get someone else to go over your work with that fine-tooth comb.

Then it was fix-it-all-up time. And I was thoroughly cranky and annoyed with myself by the time I had finished that. It was a considerable relief to send the finished thing off. But this was only a short novella.. I thought about what it must be like to properly edit a novel-length manuscript in that degree of detail, or my wretched thesis that I am currently writing. Good Lord  Almighty – if I let my hair grow long enough, I’d be tearing it out in fistfulls trying to fix up my usual scatter-gun collection of errors in a 70,000-plus word piece.

Lesson number two – get it right in small batches to begin with and save the little that is left of my already dubious sanity.

Now if you have an opinion on what I’m blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don’t bite – at least not always.

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