Veronique Darwin

Posts Tagged ‘Editing’

Shouts from your editor

In My Writing on July 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm

5451092339_f2567fb4e1

(photo from flickriver.com)

WELL, COULD IT BE SOMETHING RECOGNIZABLE THAT TELLS US SOMETHING IMPORTANT ABOUT GIL?

WHAT WAS THE PAMPHLET?

THEY ARE ALWAYS FACING EACH OTHER

THEY ARE ALWAYS TAKING CARE OF PARTS OF EACH OTHER

WHAT DO THEIR EYES DO IN THE PRESENCE OF THE OTHER?

JILLIAN HASN’T NOTICED THAT GIL IS A PART OF HER!!!!!!

JUST TAKE ALL THIS OUT. MESSY.

PARIS

JOB INTERVIEW

WHO MEA IS

EAST VS. WEST COAST

AND HAVE THE TWO OF THEM MOVE AS THEY TALK! AND DO GESTURES! THAT ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT THEY’RE FEELING!

HOW DO THEY RUN?

WHAT MAKES IT LOOK LIKE A LIMP PIECE OF CAKE? IS IT TALL AND SORT OF LEANING?

WHAT DOES JILLIAN FEEL WHEN SHE PICKS LI UP? WHAT DOES LI LITERALLY FEEL LIKE?

THAT PEOPLE ARE FROZEN ON THE SPOT AND MAGICALLY TRANSFORMED WHEN THEY MEET SOMEONE NEW (WHO THEY WILL COME TO KNOW VERY WELL AND WITH WHOM THEY HAVE A SPECIAL CONNECTION). SOMETIMES COULD THEY JUST NOT REALLY NOTICE THEY ARE MEETING ONE ANOTHER?

WE NEED TO LATER SEE WHAT SHE MADE FROM THE MIXING BOWL

MEA DOESN’T CLEAR HER THROAT.

AND WHY IS JILLIAN SO LIFELESS AND CAVALIER ABOUT THIS!!!

AND? WHAT DOES SCOTCH DO TO HER?

WOULD IT BE BETTER IF PEOPLE WERE SCANDALISED? WHAT’S THE POINT OF NO ONE BEING SCANDALISED?

BE ATTRACTED TO GIL! OR NOT ATTRACTED TO GIL.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? WHO WANTS WHAT AND WHO IS GETTING IT?

WHY SUCH A SHITTY ENDING?

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What There is to Correct

In Thoughts on Writing on March 15, 2013 at 12:10 am

I have big problems with correcting grammar. I don’t have problems doing it – I’m really good at it – I just have problems with the concept, with the purpose of it. I love correcting my own grammar. It’s a part of the art; it’s the journey toward the right sentence. What I don’t think is right is correcting someone else’s grammar, at least when I’m looking at their writing.

When we correct grammar, we are saying that the work is almost perfect but only the grammar needs to be changed. Once someone has corrected my grammar, I’m scared to touch other sentences for fear they were perfect before and now will only be messed with. This is especially true for writing in French, where I’m less sure of myself and more convinced that I might happen upon a beautiful sentence and not even know it.

Grammar is like a mark on a test. If you see a number, you’re not going to worry about anything else. If you got a 60 and the word excellent and the person next to you got an 85 and the word fine, you would wish so much to be them. What the 85 must mean about their writing! What the 85 must mean about them! And that word, excellent, it gets lost.

Sharpening concept

photo from amdesignstudios.net

I shouldn’t say I’m especially talented at grammar because maybe you will start correcting me on this post, but I will say that grammar has never been my enemy. I think grammar is a lot of people’s enemies. To me, grammar is a set of expectations that, once understood and internalized, can help communicate a message effectively. The avoidance of grammar is the avoidance of your message. So I pay close attention to my grammar already. I need it to tell you a story.

Then when somebody steps in and puts my story aside all for the sake of a missed preposition – or worse, the rephrasing of a sentence – I get offended. I am the one delivering the message, so I am the one who will worry about how it is delivered. You must worry only about my message.

A recent movement in education is towards formative assessment, a type of feedback method that allows both teachers and students to evaluate where they are at in the learning process and what they need to do to reach their shared objectives. I think of editing this way. If I am to edit a student’s work, or a fellow writer’s, I am doing it so that person can move forward with their work. Will helping them change a capital letter do that? No, it will distract them. It might actually convince them that everything, all the big details, were so spot on that all I had to worry about what that tiny (but very wrong) minuscule letter.

It’s only by reading to grasp the message and then commenting on that message (the presentation of it, the ideas behind it, the possibilities of it) that anyone moves forward in any piece of writing. Grammar is the tool that lets them get the message out, but never controllable by anyone but the person who has the message to begin with. That’s why I love grammar: it’s a personal affair, a love connection between a writer and their writing.

 

Dismissing the Adjectives

In My Writing, Thoughts on Writing on June 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I took out all the adjectives. No longer do my characters smile a certain way, or say something other than how they say it. When I find an adjective I think I need, I find a way of squishing it together with the noun that it modifies. I have created such hybrids as wiseman and redcar.

A book called The First Five Pages told me to do it. It’s on the list of bestsellers at Indigo, so I initially didn’t want to read it. I’m not going to be that person carrying around three copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. But I knew it was what I needed. I borrowed it from the library.


I’m near to being done my book. I need now to make my sentences flow so that agents will read it, so that I can read it. I need to start new paragraphs with tabs, and I need to get rid of fluff and other stuff. I was warned that rhymes in prose are the worst. I love it when I find one; it makes me feel that my writing is magical.

And then, of course, adjectives and adverbs must be removed.

“I heard a few small whines”? Really? How big can your whines really be, Gil?

“The first time I met Gil”? Oh yeah? Did you meet him a bunch of times?

Story telling became storytelling.

Lobster tail became lobstertail (I need to say whose tail).

And then I started changing other things too. Hey Mr. Lukeman, why do your interns have to be “angry” and “overworked” when they’re reading my manuscripts? Wouldn’t being overworked make them angry? And “the next five thousand manuscripts” – isn’t that a bit wordy, not to mention unrealistic? And an editorial assistant, couldn’t that just be an editorialassistant?

Red scrawls and editorial loops on more than just the First Five Pages of this book suggest that maybe I should have actually bought it… no, that I should have bought it.

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