Monday, 16 July 2012

Cleaning, Polishing, Editing

Earlier this year, I posted this to a forum I belong to:

I hate my editor

Or, at least, I did yesterday Wink

Working through the manuscript he'd edited and returned to me, some of his comments seemed very harsh. What's more, the fool had deleted some of my best lines, changed my perfect prose and destroyed my clever plotting. What did he mean it isn't clear how the victim died? A child of five could work it out.

Dark clouds gathered over Wilcox Towers. As the day wore on and my language ripened, hubby beat a strategic retreat to the garden while I stomped around hurling brickbats and curses and looking for something, anything, to kick. Then I went to bed, pulled the covers over my head and told the world to go away - only not so politely. Smile

This morning I love my editor Big Grin
He's cut through the c*ap, stripped out the waffling, the needless verbiage, and the self-indulgent meanderings. He's made the whole thing leaner, tighter, better. He's made me think! And taught me to listen. Slowly, oh! so slowly, I'm becoming a better writer. And that has to be all to the good.

Yes, this morning I love my editor
Indelible stains
I  was referring to his editing of Strictly Murder, but it could just as easily have applied  to his comments on Chamaeleon: The Dragon Key - the sequel to my fantasy story for older children - about which he demanded** a very major re-write. And this got me to thinking. Wouldn't it be nice if we could edit and re-write life?

Wouldn't it be nice if we could change the past?  If I could only take back those harsh words, not say those things which, usually in an effort to be funny, merely offended people or made me seem uncaring.  If I could only edit out those embarrassing moments when my tongue ran away with me and I said something stupid, or that time I arrived at a party dressed as a nun, only to discover it wasn't fancy dress. And was then introduced to the new vicar!
Over a long life, I've made so many mistakes and embarrassed myself (and others) so often, it would take an entire container ship of red ink to highlight them all. And no amount of cleaning solvent will ever remove them from my life. They are permanent, indelible and, though I may be the only person who remembers them (I wish), I have developed a new strategy for eradicating their existence. Killing them, like 99 percent of all known germs, dead!

Use neat for extra cleaning power!

Henceforward, I shall simply say nothing at all. I'm not going to talk to anyone - ever again. My words will all be written ones - cleaned, polished and edited before being unleashed on a grateful world. To be effective, of course, every e-mail, blog, tweet, forum and Facebook post, will have to be run past my hard-working editor so I may need to hire another one. Hell's teeth! Given the amount of talking and wittering I do, I may need a whole army of editors. Hmm, I'm beginning to suspect there's a flaw in this idea.
Perhaps I should run it past my editor.

**Actually he suggested changes, not demanded them - which is part of the appeal of being self-published. And, anyway, he's a very nice man and I'm glad I've got him on my side.