On A Rant About Editing……
In the interim blog schedule, I’m offering an older post on a still existing rant.
I taught English for ten years to a wide variety of students in secondary schools. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I received C’s in the two Language for Teachers courses I was required to take. The professor was a power-hungry megalomaniac who ended up hating me because I stood up for a much younger student he was berating in public.
I find Linguistics and the history of languages fascinating, but the arbitrary bogus rules concocted by the MLA irritate me. I’m all for keeping infinitives intact. I speak against dangling participles (although I find them in my writing) and ending sentences with a preposition. I abhor the practice of beginning a sentence with a conjunction….abhor it.
That being said, I taught grammar in context with the use of critical thinking and intuitive skills. The English language is the most complicated to learn and it shifts without warning. I’m a strong writer, not a perfect writer. Most layman wouldn’t be able to spot my grammar mistakes….not an excuse to leave them in the work.
After working on a novel for two years, a second or third pair of eyes is necessary. I’ve already gone through the revision and critique process with a great group of people whose opinions I value. I don’t need coaching or ghost writing….I taught writing for 10 years. I know the craft.
Every year I try to go to at least one conference. This year I was going to try to go to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold conference in addition to the NCW Conference that I attend every year. This year my focus was on publishing and marketing.
I hit a couple of writing workshops because I love the folks presenting….Trai Cartwright, who has provided me incredible insight and suggestions on how to approach several of my projects. Laura Pritchett, whose novels I read before I braved the decision to take my writing public. Her balanced and serene sense of humor makes any workshop she presents a must, this year it happened to be on Sex in Fiction. I wasn’t going to miss that!
I always walk away from workshops thinking….this year wasn’t any different. I didn’t, however, discover any new writing trick. I could’ve easily presented Todd Mitchell’s workshop on protagonists, simply because I’ve given almost the exact same lesson hundreds of times in the last 10 years.
I don’t need support with the craft of writing. I always accept critique from people I trust, that doesn’t mean that I’ll always make the changes they suggest. It means that I’m thinking about what they say. Right now, I just need a proofreader who hasn’t read my book 100 times.
I didn’t just start this process. Several months ago, I tracked down an editor and sent them the project. Timing, scheduling and the gods were against me and the editor had to quit the project a third of the way into the novel. She referred me to another editor. The next editor took the project and then quit after working another third of the book.
By that time, I was frustrated and pushing up against the Walkabout. I took on the last third of the book myself….we’ve received feedback about some things I missed. I didn’t take it personally but by that time my eyes glazed over. “I wasn’t listening, I was thinking about something else.”
Now, in the process of trying to find an editor who is willing to do a copy edit, a line edit whatever they call it….I need typos, grammar and anything glaringly wrong exposed. I have nothing against editors….I need them. I want to work with them.
I need a grammar geek with a pencil!
Okay rant over….another cup of coffee and then some domestic goddess chores for me.