Monday, October 31, 2011

As An Editor

Last night, I finally finished my work on the three book manuscript I was hired to edit last November. Total manuscript length was 887 pages and well over 200,000 words. That's nearly 11 months of laboriously pouring   over all those words and all those pages. Countless hours and one extremely edit-filled Saturday as I raced to the finish line.

I have to say - I enjoyed the entire process immensely. The book is good and I really think he'll get picked up. The money was pretty good too. Helped to cover a few errant doctor's bills and the like.

There were a couple things I learned about myself as an editor while working on this project. I thought I'd share them:

- I'm controlling and I know it: This is actually a very good attribute. I think anyway. You can't just be controlling - you have to also know it. Controlling in the sense that - I'm OCD about grammar and consistency and 'show don't tell' and cutting unnecessary slog. And I know it in the sense that - I try not to go overboard. With each edit that I make, I agonize over whether or not it's the right decision for the manuscript. Or, do I just want to change it because I'm queen? I think the end result of this is relevant, well-thought-out edits.

- I'm a much better editor than I am a writer: I love to write. But I think that the only reason my writing has any strength at all is because I'm (see above). OCD about grammar and consistency and... blah blah blah. Yadda yadda yadda. Someone remarked on this in my writing class. That my writing is incredibly tight and well constructed, and how do I do that? The answer is, I don't. I don't do that while I'm writing. Unedited, my writing is full of garbage. There's a woman in my class who writes the most fantastic stuff. Her structure is horrific, but her words and her imagery. I can't do that! Edited, though. It's perfection. (Just... let me think it's perfection, okay?)

What about you? Are you a better editor, or better writer? Do you enjoy structure, or do you just need to get the story out of you?  


  1. It's in the FRACKIN' SHIP!!!

  2. Funny - if this post had anything to do with BSG.

  3. I don't see why you can't be an equally good editor and writer. You're equally good at everything else...

  4. Hmmmm, I think I am a better writer but I would rather edit - go figure. With editing I'd have to look up the rules. I don't know if all the OCDedness of proper would come back to me even if I did it on a regular bases. 887 pages? WOW!!!

  5. @Jamie - I'm not saying I'm an awful writer. I've read worse, for sure. But - there are some people for whom writing and words just pour out of them naturally. I have to work really hard to get there.

    @Sporadically Yours - haha, it was a tremendous undertaking. Imagine the guy who wrote it! I miss it so much.


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