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JANE, STOP THIS CRAZY EDIT
by Tina Morgan
Ever since I decided to join a workshop, I've been editing other people's work. I've learned how to look for plot discrepancies and unnecessary descriptions. Redundancies jump out at me like a lightning bolt.
As a struggling writer, you think this would be a good thing. It's not. Every time I pick up a book to read for pure pleasure, the editing machine kicks in. I can't even read the back of the cereal box without thinking, 'they could have worded that better'. Have you noticed that 'Cap'n' in Captain Crunch isn't abbreviated right? Not unless they're going for a strong dialect, something most writing manuals tell you to avoid.
Then there's the rock band Korn. Since when has corn been spelled with a 'k' instead of a 'c'? I won't mention some of the others (N'sync etc.). See what I mean? The machine just keeps running and I can't find the OFF switch!
I read one of my favorite authors the other day. (He shall remain nameless to save me from indignant fans). I noticed that his seventh book had the same plot as the first six. The hero is separated from his love interest and it takes the entire book for them to get back together. What's the old saying? Absence makes the heart grow fonder? No wonder these two are so desperate to be together. Personally, I'd like to see a new challenge.
Did I mention the long drawn out section of passive voice? Where was the editor on this book? I'm thinking the man is able to write whatever he pleases just because he's made a lot of money. Now I'm not against making a lot of money, I'd like a seven figure advance as well, but I do think even established authors have a responsibility to maintain a certain quality of writing.
I'm still looking for that off switch. I find myself editing my own thoughts. When my co-author and I are in the same room, we edit each other. I need a support group for editors anonymous. - 'Hi, my name is Tina. It's been two minutes since I last edited anything. - (I had a mistake in the previous paragraph. It had to be fixed.)
I need help turning this blasted thing off. I never considered myself obsessive before, maybe I need to take a closer look at myself. OH NO! Now I'm editing my own personality!
So, I'm left wondering if other writers have this problem. Guess not all of them, look at that book I just read. But my real question is, 'is it wrong to rob hard working editors of their livelihood?' I mean, do I have to leave them something to edit in my book, or can I keep at it until there's nothing left to edit. (Oh, that makes it a blank page doesn't it?)
This editing machine is beginning to remind me of the treadmill on the 'Jetsons' cartoon. "JANE, TURN THIS CRAZY THING OFF!!"
© Copyright 2001 Tina Morgan. All rights reserved.
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