Serious editing is a serious business. Line editing takes serious to another level.
From the initial submission of Ghostbird (when it was called something else) to publication (on the near horizon) the past few weeks have presented me with the biggest learning curve of the entire process. Copy & line edits are mind-blowing in their complexity & ultimately, their usefulness. My lovely editor tells me not to worry now – we’re pretty much done & any remaining small issues will be picked up after the proofs come back. And yet still, I can’t resist one last read-through. It’s addictive.
Oh, look – another possibly misplaced comma…
I recall an article somewhere about Rules for Writers & editing. Some bright spark responded to the effect that having eliminated the prologue & the afterword, all repetition, adverbs, similes & metaphors, all references to the weather & people’s appearance, the bits a reader might skip & any exclamation marks, s/he was left with the title & a few commas. And the title wasn’t up to much either.
‘I know how s/he feels,’ averred the hazel-eyed, grey-haired author as she gazed appreciatively at the mist-laden, wind-swept, Avalonian vista which unfurled like a grey carpet across the window of her 1960’s jerry-built apartment block, reminiscent of Holloway prison but in fact, surprisingly bijou & charming inside. Flinging back her tousled, silvering locks she empathised knowingly, from afar, as her unknown, yet somehow, known fellow writer’s impassioned & dejected observations fell like tears around the faded keys of her ancient, but comfortingly familiar keyboard.
‘It was ever thus’ she cried forlornly. ‘So many grammatical errors & forays into useless & overblown verbiage, so little time!’
I think I learned to write a little better writing (& editing) this story.