David Nash - Writer

Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Mystery – Oh My!

Learning From Your Missteps

Note to futre writer self – do NOT give the manuscript to the content editor until you have gone over it at least twice for grammar, punctuation and to fix common sense mistakes.  She is taking three times as long to correct this manuscript as the last one and IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT!

Seriously, I must have been brain dead to give an editor a manuscript that was in that state.  Sad thing is that a lot of what she is correcting would have gone away in the first serious rewrite.

Still, seeing all the things she spots right away, does make me realize how much better my work could be after the first draft – if I pay attention to continuity, grammar and simple description.

I took a shortcut (that’s proving to be the long way – typical male driver) in writing the first pass of the story.  In order to keep it all in first person active tense I simply wrote pretty much the whole thing as dialog.  I intended to go back and “fill in” the descriptions, flesh out the places and people, and generally make it a much more readable story in my first draft.

But, I stupidly gave a copy to my content editor to look at.  I was thinking she could point out the places where the descriptions become what the reader is looking for.  Bad idea! Bad! Bad! Bad!

Instead, she is justifiably raking me over the coals for every mistake she finds.  And there are a lot of them!  Rambling sentences, bad grammar, using the wrong word, behavior a man or woman would not really do, except in a cliche’ joke.

Did I mention that I deserve the roasting I’m getting?  That part is good.  It will make me a better writer.  But, the time is costly, AND the rewrite will take much longer.  Mainly because she has also brought up at least a half dozen places where I should add full chapters to fill stuff in.

And they are good ideas.

I love my content editor.  And I promise I won’t hand you anything even remotely “slushy” ever again.   But waiting on the edit at this rate will push the book into November.  I’ve actually started to write another one while I wait.

That one WILL be cleaner.

I fooled me once…

Note: Actually it pushed the novel all the way into January. NEVER hand in “slushy” material to a good editor.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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1 Comment

  1. I’m glad your lesson learned was insightful and (mostly) painless! I look forward to the day when I can have a copy editor proof my writing as well. Hopefully I’ll give him or her the cleanest draft possible!

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