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?  

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

Rating: 4 stars
Shelf:  Reading Now 

Absolutely incredible. A mixture of mediums/genres - YA lit, graphic novel and historical fiction - Brian Selznick weaves a wonderful tale using everything he has at his disposal. The result is a fast paced novel that pays with all of the reader's senses, and draws us in more quickly than any traditional book could.

Hugo is an orphaned and abandoned young boy, living within the walls of a train station in France, and maintaining the station's clocks. He works diligently to bring an automaton to life - one that his father had been attempting to fix prior to his death. It isn't until the day that he meets an old toy-store clerk,  his goddaughter and a mystery drawing is unveiled that the wheels and cogs of Hugo's life start to click into place.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Scott Westerfeld Answered Me - and Why Twitter Brings People Closer Together

I'm a bit behind writing this post and I'm going to blame all the travel. Indiana (ugh) followed closely by Texas (awesome).

While I was bored out of my mind in Indiana and sad because my rental car had been towed the night before and then I got stood up for a professional lunch (which later turned out to just be a misunderstanding, but at THIS point, I thought I couldn't even complete my ONE GOAL in traveling to Indiana and so I was feeling pretty sorry for myself). So, I took to Twitter. I take to Twitter a lot while I'm traveling.

Scott Westerfeld had tweeted that he was doing a book signing in San Francisco.

Since I was feeling really sorry for myself, and wishing I was anywhere but Indiana, I decided to reply.

And then he answered me!

I was pretty excited. I've tweeted at several authors, Meg Cabot for one. I've even tweeted furiously at Levar Burton. But - Scott Westerfeld was the first to answer me. The Uglies series is one of my favorite YA/Teen series as evidenced by this photo:

Where I proudly rock my "I'm an Ugly" t-shirt and shock little old ladies into shouting - "Why would you wear a shirt like that!?" So you can imagine the sort of dance I did when I saw this wonderful author's response to sad and dejected tweet.

I know everyone is really terrified of everything digital these days. It's the death of the book, which I really don't think it is. It's the death of communication - which. I think I communicate MORE with people from all over than I ever did when there was just a telephone, or handwritten letters. Because I hate the phone and handwritten letters are awesome and romantic before they get tedious and boring. And what is better than the ability to connect and communicate with your favorite authors?

Looking at Mr. Westerfeld's account, I can see that he very often responds to fans. And I think that's pretty awesome of him to take the time to do that. I hope that he knows he's truly brightening people's days/evenings. And, by being so accessible, probably keeping all those social network junked up kids reading real books.

Do you use Twitter? Have you ever gotten a response from an author or an actor that really made your day?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bossypants - Tina Fey

Rating: 3 stars
Shelf: Reading Now 

I can't believe I read ANOTHER celebrity bio this year. I think my brain is turning to mush. Anyway - this was okay. I had high expectations going into this and I don't think they were really met. Sure it was cute and there were moments when I chuckled and I'm glad she finally satisfied my insane need to KNOW about her scar... but - and I'm sure I'll get crucified for this - I'm sort of getting tired of the same old Liz Lemon/Tina Fey. 

Also, I need to read some non-fiction, stat. 

Purchase Now from Amazon: Bossypants

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feast for Crows - George R. R. Martin

Rating: 3 stars
Shelf: Reading Now 

Very, very slow going and not the best out of the series. Still - it's George R.R. and it's Song of Ice and Fire and I read the whole thing. Luckily it picked up at the end and I was able to really enjoy it. I can't wait to read Dance with Dragons and I'll still love this series truly and completely, but ... someone should have edited this. 

Purchase Now from Amazon: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4)
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