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View Full Version : Editing ad nauseum When will it be at an end!



Ralph Rotten
September 24th, 2018, 08:33 PM
There is no purpose to this post, just a rant (and writing avoidance too...)
I am doing final-final edits for the new book coming out in Oct.
Final-final means that the book is 99.999% done, proofed ad nauseum, done, fini, terminado...
So Essentially I am just re-reading it changing a word every ten pages or so, looking for those little things that the wannabe-editors always like to point out in reviews (oooh I hate WB editors & critics!)
It's a good story, but I have read it soooo many times.

This part of the process makes me feel like Rex Harrison shouting up to Charlton Heston "When will it be at an end???"

You know?
Anyone else get this feeling?



https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dn4hLz3UwAAqwXl.jpg

Ralph Rotten
September 25th, 2018, 04:08 PM
So no one else gets this feeling during editing?
Like you just wanna cut and run, publish the thing as is and move to the next project?
Surely I cannot be the only one?

moderan
September 25th, 2018, 06:05 PM
I edit anthologies.

Ralph Rotten
September 25th, 2018, 06:24 PM
But at some point of going over it and over it and going over it, don't you just feel like "Frack it! I'm done with this thing!"
Or do you do your editing in just a few passes?

SueC
September 25th, 2018, 07:53 PM
No, Ralph, you are not the only one. You know the type of stuff I write. I'm moved, sometimes to tears, and when I've re-read it a hundred times, and still feel that familiar sting, I know I have more to do. When, like you, I want to just say oh who the heck cares anymore then I know I have given all I can and move on. But, on a whim, I look again before sending it off and there's that one word that would have worked so much better . . . and . . . are there any more? Fist pump! I hear you Ralph. :)

Ralph Rotten
September 25th, 2018, 08:27 PM
Whenever I get the urge to cut & run, I always think of that feeling I get when I get a shitty review where someone points out some goof that I shoulda seen.
Sure, I go back and fix & republish it...but the review stays there for all eternity...reminding me not to cut & run.
But still...Auuuuggghhhh*




*Plagiarized from Charlie Brown.

moderan
September 26th, 2018, 12:08 AM
But at some point of going over it and over it and going over it, don't you just feel like "Frack it! I'm done with this thing!"
Or do you do your editing in just a few passes?
It's even worse with other people's words.

Darren White
September 26th, 2018, 07:00 AM
I must be weird, but then again I'm an Asperger, but I LIKE editing. But perhaps editing poetry is different? We poets are used to sit and debate for hours over one word, or a comma.
What I do not like, is editing my poems in such a way that they fit a page in a book. Especially since I shape and format my poems.

Guard Dog
September 26th, 2018, 10:04 AM
The problem I have with editing is changing things to suit someone else.
I mean, I'm not writing for them. I'm not really even writing for me.
I'm writing for the story, and what it's become.
I simply want it to be the best it can be, and be the best at what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.
My opinion or anybody else's doesn't really matter that much, in the grand scheme of things.
And yeah, Ralph, I'm more than a little concerned that I'll be editing the damned thing for as long as I've already been working on it.



G.D.

Guard Dog
September 26th, 2018, 10:11 AM
I must be weird, but then again I'm an Asperger...

I raised one'a you folks, Darren... A daughter, who was not only Asperger's, but ADD and ODD as well. ( Attention Deficit Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, for those that don't know. )

It was an interesting experience, that caused me to have to look at myself in a different light, and see some things about myself that I had previously missed.

And for as hard as it was to get through, it's an experience that I think everyone should have. It's very educational, and... enlightening?
( And let me tell ya, folks, we ALL have at least a bit of Asperger's Syndrome, to some degree or the other. It's just usually passed off as "personality quirks", or something of the like. )


G.D.

JustRob
September 26th, 2018, 12:00 PM
Flannery O'Connor, the renowned writer of old Georgia, had the same problem. She never considered that any of her works was quite perfect enough for publication and her publisher had virtually to tear the manuscripts from her bleeding fingers to do so.

My solution was not to publish as such but just to post my work on my website as e-books and replace them with new versions when I felt the need. I described this as living literature because once a work is handed over for publication it is literally out of the writer's hands, i.e. dead, and critique and new ideas serve no purpose.

I can imagine the future of publication being more like WF and self-publishing sites where works can evolve and a reader can read the latest version. (As I often mention, Oscar Wilde said that if a book isn't worth reading more than once then it isn't worth reading at all.) In this case it would involve a reader not buying a single version of a book as such but a subscription to an evolving book. This was how books were published back in the nineteenth century. Wealthy subscribers would pay up front for a book to be published so that there was a guaranteed minimum return for it. In fact some old books actually have the lists of subscribers and how many copies they ordered within them. That is a little surreal, a book containing the names of the people who bought it, but it is useful information for historical researchers. Women aren't prominent in the records of those times but some of them did buy books, which gives the researcher valuable clues about them. Of course back in those days anyone worth their salt had a library full of books which they probably never read just for the sake of appearances, but nowadays the same could be done far more cheaply in the virtual world.


The problem I have with editing is changing things to suit someone else.
I mean, I'm not writing for them. I'm not really even writing for me.
I'm writing for the story, and what it's become.
I simply want it to be the best it can be, and be the best at what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.
My opinion or anybody else's doesn't really matter that much, in the grand scheme of things.
And yeah, Ralph, I'm more than a little concerned that I'll be editing the damned thing for as long as I've already been working on it.
Yes G.D. you've got it, living literature. I've ignored good advice from others simply because they were trying to make the story something else, their view of it rather than what it wanted to be within my mind. It's a devil of a thing, literally. After publication it's been stuffed and mounted, a museum piece. There must be a better way to make money out of it.

TuesdayEve
September 26th, 2018, 04:06 PM
Just an observation, it’s interesting this discussion
is about editing and how in life we must edit ourselves
to accomadate situations.

moderan
September 26th, 2018, 05:58 PM
I'm on the spectrum as well, and enjoy editing to the point where it suits my 'ducks in a row' needs. Anthologizing is different in that you're also involved in salesmanship, selling the theme or the publisher to writers. Offering money is one thing -- if you're giving 10 cents a word, you have to sell a good deal less. If you're paying SFWA/HWA minimum pro (25 bucks) or less, you need to sell portfolio/prestige.
Doing that, and attracting great writers and finding wonderful new talent, makes the painful parts (finding where all the commas go, etc.) worthwhile.
I think every writer should edit (anthos), just to find out what it's about.
I realize this is sort of a side-road from the OP, but there's really nowhere here to talk about such stuff.

Ralph Rotten
September 26th, 2018, 08:26 PM
I must be weird, but then again I'm an Asperger, but I LIKE editing. But perhaps editing poetry is different? We poets are used to sit and debate for hours over one word, or a comma.
What I do not like, is editing my poems in such a way that they fit a page in a book. Especially since I shape and format my poems.



I have a son that was ADD, and another that has Aspergers.
I am most likely an undiagnosed ADHD with a side of OCD Tourettes* :twisted:
Really, I have always considered this my strength. Ordinary people would not get up at 0400 every day to pound out text, day after day.
But then again, ordinary people are boring.







*not only am I extremely profane, but I am compelled to say it twice.

Darren White
September 27th, 2018, 06:14 AM
I have Tourette's as well :) Wonderful to have while also in a wheelchair LOL
Not OCD, unless I count the need to line up everything the exact same way and have a hissy fit if I don't manage?
Ain't we quirky?

I must say that I think a wonderful part of being an Asperger/autist is the ability to intensely focus (I don't like the word hyperfocus) and pay attention to detail, which is a necessity while editing. I can easily spend 8 hours doing the same task as long as I am interested, and editing is something that interests me, yes.
What is a downside is that I lack overview of the whole project. I can lose myself in thinking about one word, and forget there is a deadline for a project.

Ralph Rotten
September 27th, 2018, 07:20 AM
I was actually kidding about the OCD Tourettes.
It just sounded like a hilarious disorder, combining those two would make for an interesting character. :icon_bounce:
But I really am an obsessive-compulsive type personality.

Guard Dog
September 27th, 2018, 07:59 AM
Yes G.D. you've got it, living literature. I've ignored good advice from others simply because they were trying to make the story something else, their view of it rather than what it wanted to be within my mind. It's a devil of a thing, literally. After publication it's been stuffed and mounted, a museum piece. There must be a better way to make money out of it.

Rob, you just triggered a memory, and I'm gonna pass it along, even if it's probably not appropriate to do so here... Call it my own alternate version of Tourettes, if you will.

Back when I was in college, a few of us were sitting around the classroom at lunch talking, and the subject of death, and what we wanted done with our bodies after we'd died came up. Somebody said something about being buried face down, another said they wanted their corpse donated to science, so on and so forth.
Well one of my classmates, who just happened to be into tractor pulls and such, and who'd turned a 1956 Cadillac Hearse into a pulling truck, said he wanted his body to be stuffed and mounted, so it could ride "shotgun" in his truck at the pulling events.
Hearing this, another friend of mine, a 6ft. tall, flat-chested "biker chick", looked up from the blueprints she was going over, and said, perfectly dead-pan, "Stuffed and mounted? I thought that was a way to die."
We all ended up laughing so hard the instructor came out of his office asked what was so funny. When we told him what Lisa had said, he opened his mouth and started to say something, then just clamped his jaw and went back to his office... which set us off all over again.



G.D.

JustRob
September 27th, 2018, 12:20 PM
You should always leave "one for Allah". In Islam only Allah can create perfection and to attempt to do so oneself would be an affront to him, so when someone mentions that you left some tiny error in a large amount of work just tell them that it's one for Allah. I'm not so sure that "158 for Allah" would wash though. It may be an apocryphal story but it is said to be the reason why you can always find small errors in hand-made carpets from the east.

clark
September 28th, 2018, 08:07 AM
I hate editing. I'm unsure whether I even like writing. I'm an absolute junkie for the rush the thrill the recognition of a welling emotion before writing that transports and consumes and within which I SEE the whole poem. . .and try to seize it. Writing a poem is an act of failed translation. And on those occasions where I succeed more than fail, I'm so grateful, I hate editing it. I DO, but it feels like an unnatural act. I don't do it well

Darren White
September 28th, 2018, 09:03 AM
I hate editing. I'm unsure whether I even like writing. I'm an absolute junkie for the rush the thrill the recognition of a welling emotion before writing that transports and consumes and within which I SEE the whole poem. . .and try to seize it. Writing a poem is an act of failed translation. And on those occasions where I succeed more than fail, I'm so grateful, I hate editing it. I DO, but it feels like an unnatural act. I don't do it well

I recognise that emotion. It's how I like to write as well.
The strange thing however is that I THINK I don't like to edit it afterwards to improve, and my first reaction to critique is to become defensive, after all it is my BABY! But then it starts, a sort of urge to edit, and I can do it for hours.

It's even better when I edit other people's work. It's what I am doing for a writer at the moment, I am both proofreading and editing his work and also keeping him focused, I turn into a sort of Mother Hen (sheesh)
Every comma, every tense change, everything I question. I like it.

clark
September 28th, 2018, 11:08 AM
Darren -- Yeah, you're weird. But, truth be out, so am I. And JustRob. And Ralph. And SueC. And Tim (weirder). And TuesdayEve. And Hawkeye. And Ron (scary weird). And moderan. And PiP (pointy weird). And Robbie. And Gumby (sticky weird). And. . . . . . . I mean, get serious! There are interest rates to worry about, and used cars to be sold, and joints to be welded, and cows to be milked, and here we all are, gnawing away for forty posts on a single word or working ourselves into mortal combat mode over the placement of a fucking COMMA! "So I :-({|=quit the police department/Got myself :barbershop_quartet_ a steady job" ………………………….sheesh

JustRob
September 29th, 2018, 06:17 PM
There are interest rates to worry about, and used cars to be sold, and joints to be welded, and cows to be milked, and here we all are, gnawing away for forty posts on a single word or working ourselves into mortal combat mode over the placement of a fucking COMMA!

By coincidence, as ever with me, while reading through my emails from 2012 today (research for my WIP) I found the following paragraph written to me by the American university lecturer in English literature who helped me enormously while I was working on my novel back then. I am sure that he won't mind me quoting him here.


I often tease my students with the idiosyncrasies between British and American composition conventions. University students over here seem to have quite a time with commas and periods when accompanying quotation marks—the American form is to always place them inside the mark, whether you use the single or double quotations. They seem to invariably want to follow the British English form, not knowing, however, that they are doing so—my sense is that, in British English, there are times when you are to place the commas inside, and times for placing them outside, depending on the individual meaning. So, I tell them that one of the hidden reasons for the Revolution is that, by golly, we were going to put ours inside, and King George III wasn’t going to make us do otherwise. The tea tax and the Stamp Act were one thing, but when it came to composition conventions, that’s when we knew war was inevitable. I’m not sure I am completely happy that they don’t disagree with me on that. I can never be completely confident they are just being nice to me and my feeble attempt at humor or if they believe I have imparted to them some little-known kernel of American history no other teacher knew about.

Yep, that's John all over, forever trying to detect a spark of intelligence in his students, not that their punctuation can ever prove it apparently.

Olly Buckle
September 30th, 2018, 01:00 AM
One of our members who used to be a newspaper reporter introduced me to the concept of 'Good enough for copy', that is to say there comes a point where you stop worrying about it and put it forward, because otherwise you could go on forever and miss the last time for publication. I know this is not newspaper reporting, but it can still be a useful concept.

Ralph Rotten
October 2nd, 2018, 01:28 AM
I just clicked PUBLISH on both the eBook and the print book. The eBook is on pre-sale until Oct 24th, and the print book will be available within 72 hours.
I thought I'd release the print book a tad early just to test how it would effect the amazon algorithm. Usually I release both at the same time, and they both show activity for pre-sales so they get floated.
Just an experiment. Also, when you order a proof thru Kindle Print services, they add a big, ugly watermark across the title. I preferred how CreateSpace just printed PROOF on the last blank page.
Oh well, it is done. I can sit back and write until the 24th. My work on that book is done, 20 days early.
All that after working 24 hours of OT this weekend.