Editing. It’s the most reviled step of the writing process. It’s where we do the backbreaking work of word-weeding, where we must dissociate from ourselves enough to see our work objectively, where we’re forced to kill our darlings. It’s the dark place between writing and publication, mostly characterized by bloodshot eyes and crippling doubt....more
Posts Tagged: editing
At Lit Hub, editor and author Jill Bialosky examines the ways in which writing and editing work themselves out in her mind. She writes in the early morning, before tackling anything else, and then goes to work critiquing the work of other authors:
What happens when my early morning hours have extinguished and it is time to go to the workplace where I earn a living?
Draftback is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch every keystroke of every revision made to a Google Doc played back to you, opening up a new way to study how writers write. Chadwick Matlin at FiveThirtyEight tried the extension, however, and he sees a dark side:
Embedded in Draftback’s ingenuity is also a certain kind of inevitability: that writing, like any commodity, is at the mercy of a technology that never forgets.
Bryan Henderson has made more than 47,000 edits to Wikipedia. This prolific career is not the product of Henderson’s great breath of knowledge, but rather because he has an obsession with fixing a specific grammatical mistake. The mistake he corrects over and over again is composed of two words: “comprised of.” His efforts to remove the error from the online encyclopedia have landed Henderson in the top 1,000 most active editors....more
What happens when writing ceases to be enjoyable? Over at Beyond the Margins, Dell Smith discusses how the joy of writing must eventually yield to the joy of a finished draft because while writing first drafts might be pleasurable, the work leading to a final draft rarely is:
The only way to finish something is to revise it.
The cycle of writing, editing, and publishing often leads to down time between drafts. Over at Beyond the Margins, Marlene Adelstein talks about not writing during the down time between submitting a finished manuscript and waiting to hear back from agents and editors:
This non-writing time made me feel edgy and unproductive.
The Paris Review blog discovers that in publishing the “sky is always falling.”
Every year is an abysmal year for books and a terrific year for books. Editors no longer edit, except when they do; publishers care only for their bottom line, except when they don’t; the three-martini lunch is always dead, always quietly continuing.
Author Joshua Ferris is about to release his third book, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, and Reagan Arthur, his publisher at Little, Brown, has been with him from the very beginning.
After more than 8 years of collaborating, the two talk over at Slate about the writing and editing process—and how changing this new novel’s genre led Ferris to cut a whole 200 pages from the manuscript....more
This conversation at the Millions between Edan Lepucki and her copyeditor Susan Bradanini Betz is a beautiful paean to the editing process—and enlightening for anyone who wonders what precisely a copyeditor does.
Lepucki and Betz discuss author/editor compatibility, obsessive style sheets, and Donna Tartt’s anti-copyediting broadside....more
In a conversation for the Slate Book Review, author Donna Tartt and her editor Michael Pietsch talk through the experience of editing her latest novel from both sides of the red pen.
It’s a fascinating insight into the near-magical possibilities of good editing—and what separates it from bad editing....more
Once you train yourself to spot errors, you can’t not spot them….You notice typos in novels, missing words in other magazines, incorrect punctuation on billboards. You have nightmares that your oversight turned Mayor Bloomberg into a “pubic” figure.
Yuka Igarashi of Granta wrote an introspective piece on the trappings and fussiness of copyediting.
The presence of the unedited, the wrongfully edited, and the misspelled can be infuriating to an editor. Igarashi discusses her fight against the urge to edit beyond the office and scrutinize the grammar of her surroundings....more
Proper copy editing includes examining the focus, dredging the main point up from the tenth paragraph to make it more prominent. Proper copy editing addresses the language: rooting out cliches, substituting an ordinary term for jargon when it would serve the reader better, altering infelicitous wording.
Check out this amazing Tumblr. The Rumpus editorial board is particularly fond of this one: When all of the important national mag awards go to white dudes.
(Via Xtina Richards)...more
An enlightening Paris Review interview with Robert Gottlieb, a veteran editor/publisher whose editorial touch you have undoubtedly experienced.
The editorial process is after all, its own art form that is not wholly visible to readers. Esteemed authors (Toni Morrison, Joseph Heller and Michael Crichton, to name a few) and Gottlieb himself discuss the author-editor working relationship, the hidden intricacies of the editorial process and how the publishing industry has changed our understanding of the editor....more