Can Editing Be Fun? Maybe. by Therese Walsh

I just read a fantastic post on storyfix.com by Therese Walsh about ways to get creative Right Brain working with analytic, “hatchet-happy” editor, Left Brain. Instead of trying to explain what Therese says, I’ve decided to repost it. Here it is:

Can Editing Be Fun? Maybe.

a guest post by Therese Walsh

First, I want to thank Larry for having me today on his fab site. It’s great to be here!

When I asked Larry what he might like for me to blog about, he gave me a few ideas. He knew I’d just turned a completed manuscript over to my editor and was waiting for the first round of notes and edits. Could I speak to the editing process? I thought about it; what did I have to offer here that might be fresh? And what I came back to is something Larry said: “I know in my experience this is the toughest stuff. The writing is bliss, the editing is WORK.”

You might think this crazy, but for me, editing is…fun. I have the harder time getting ideas onto the page to begin with. I toil over concepts, the timing of reveals, characterizations and descriptions and most especially the wording of my sentences (8,302 of them in my work-in-progress; I just counted).

Something happens to me, though, after I hit that final period in my draft—the end. I turn from fretful writer to dispassionate editor.

How? Why? And fun? Am I crazy?

Read the rest of the post.

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2 thoughts on “Can Editing Be Fun? Maybe. by Therese Walsh

  1. I agree with this, though I can’t say I’m hatchet-heavy. I guess I’m part of the latest generation of editors who, like the guys who edited DFW’s Pale King, don’t see grammatical mistakes as creative mistakes. I wonder if you have any comments on this.

    • It depends on the grammatical mistakes. No one can find every mistake. That’s just the way it is. However, it is foolish to not do everything possible to ensure the fewest number of mistakes, grammatical or otherwise.

      I admit I am unfamiliar with David Foster Wallace and his unfinished novel The Pale King (I prefer genre to literature), though I did take the time to do a little research on it. Flavor Wire ran the first sentence of The Pale King in its notice of the book’s impending release, April 15, 2011. I read the first couple of lines, but began scanning the rest very quickly. It was, quite honestly, the longest run-on sentence I have encountered since my days at the university getting my degree in English. I kept waiting for the man to get to the point. I’m pretty sure he never did.

      Literary writers may be able to pull this off, but genre writers seldom do. It all depends on who you’re audience is and what you’re intentions are. The Pale King is a book I would put down quickly and never consider buying because it takes too long to get to the meat of the story.

      So, to answer your comment, I believe it is very important to root out as many grammatical mistakes as possible if only to make readers happy. After all, a happy reader is more likely to buy your next book.

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