Posts Tagged ‘editing’

I mean, it looks from this blog as if I did no writing over the last goodness-knows-how-many weeks. And do you know what? I have worked and worked at writing, but it’s all been for things like my editorial, commissioning contributors (good emails that get people to agree to write for the journal take a LOT of composing, believe me!) or contributing a piece myself – maybe factual, news or extras.

It’s wonderful writing practice, but it does feel as if it isn’t quite the same as “proper” writing! Yet it has to demonstrate:

  • a form that starts and ends in a similar place, with satisfaction for the reader
  • a tightening of words so it doesn’t waffle
  • close perusal of any repeating or awkward words or phrases
  • something specific to say
  • relevance and consistency of style for the particular reader/recipient.

So how is that different to writing an article or book? It’s not. So the difference is only in my head. And, of course, it brings in dosh. We need dosh to live on, don’t we?

BUT:

I’m demonstrating a point here, so I will now go back and remove “dosh”. It doesn’t fit the style. I could put “bring home the bacon” – but that’s a cliché. “Money” is too weak: “…it brings in money.” No. Nor will I say: “…it pays the bills.” How many times have we read that? So hang on a minute while I get my brain to work *thud, thud, thud, whirr…*

Got it! I’d probably write: “And of course it is writing. Paid writing. I write to live. And that’s where I’ve been over the last goodness-knows-how-many weeks.”

 

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The journal I commission and edit for BACP

I’m absolutely embroiled in an editing spree at the moment. But I do love it. It’s as satisfying as hearing the cork pop out of a bottle of vintage – which I couldn’t afford if I didn’t have the editing contract. But I can think of at least five non-drinking reasons why I love sorting out people’s work:

1 I can’t bear to read sentences, however meaningful, that don’t have a rhythm to them. This means both within themselves and between each other. It’s so satisfying to adjust the odd word here and the sentence divisions there to achieve this.

2 I hate hearing in my mind’s eye (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?) the same word used twice or – heaven forbid – three times in the first page. But I don’t pass judgement on the writer, for of course these people are experts in their fields and no one is suggesting they should also be able to write the finest prose. Some do, and then I feel cheated – after all, what am I to do with the superfluous red ink?

3 I have a much-loved vendetta against all those double spaces between sentences. It goes like this. I conjure up the Search and Replace tool and tell it to find double spaces and replace them with one. And then, because some people have obviously had a sustained rendezvous with the space bar, I tell it to start all over again… and  again… and sometimes again… until it doesn’t find any more. And then I take a deep breath and continue editing.


4 For some bizarre reason, I really like changing everyone’s perfectly normal Harvard reference list into the Vancouver style required by my bosses. It looks much smarter, and after a few years of carrying out this operation many times per issue, I can do it while playing Angry Birds – but not in my sleep.

5 I love the thanks and praise that come my way. The professionals see that I have tidied up their work into the look they envisaged when they first put finger to keyboard, but which they couldn’t quite manage. The result befits their ‘content’, and I have prevented them being humiliated in public for mistaking ‘to’ and ‘too’ and ‘there’ and ‘their’ and the rest of it.

There are probably more reasons to love editing, but right now, it’s back to the Harvard/Vancouver exercise, with a glass of red on my right and the Angry Birds app on my left.