Editors… the unsung heroes

As work progresses on cleaning and editing Converging Forces, I’ve been in a very unfamiliar position.

I’m not the one that has done any of the real work so far. Cassie has.

She’s using the track changes function, of course, and inserting notes, so I see and evaluate all her changes. Which, when it comes to grammar and spelling, are always dead on. The notes are more to point out to me things that seem long, wierdly placed, could use more information, that kind of thing.

She’s been working very hard on it, and it’s been great for me in one key respect; Cassie does NOT read fantasy or sci-fi fiction.

So, all the time I’ve been writing these, she’s never read them before.

She’s reading them now. And for the most part, she likes it. I’m not going to speak for her, but she seems to have really been engaged by and enjoyed Jessies story, and Terins story has been… well, I knew there were issues with it at the beginning. I had played with Manny plenty of times before, I knew I could throw him in the deep end and know he’d swim. I hadn’t really had James as a player before, so I really started out slow and established the groundwork, something that’s fine for a PBeM role playing game, and not so entertaining for a story to read.

I’m so happy with the progress, I can’t really tell you. They were just SO rough, so ‘not ready to read’, but I’ve been very happy with them as turns in a PBeM story.

Now, as the balance I always envisioned is being introduced, I’m getting to be very happy with how this is all working out. 

None of this is probably of any interest to you, but it’s what we’ve been doing lately. It’s why there isn’t blog postage. Who has time to think about WoW when I’m thinking of the Converging Forces story? I’ve been writing the next chapters in my head so I can get cranking.

The drawback to having your wife hooked on your writing? She wants you to KEEP WRITING. Specifically, to get it back to Jessie.

The conversations we’re having over the writing mistakes she’s corrected so far really make me feel bad. She’s the one finding and correcting them, and if I was a skilled writer, they wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

The single biggest thing that has come out, however, is truly, I do not use apostrophes right. I need to go back in time and slap the shit out of my english teacher, because she taught specific rules on the use of the apostrophe that turn out to be, well, bullshit. Flat out lies. I didn’t make those damn rules up, either. I was in class that day!

I truly need to make a shirt that says,

“What I do to the apostrophe is an offence against God and nature.”

14 thoughts on “Editors… the unsung heroes

  1. Commenting late to the party as usual, but I’m going to recommend 2 books that are must-reads for any author and editor. You can get both for under $10 total, and investing now can save you a world of effort later. Both by Orson Scott Card (whatever his politics, the man knows the craft of writing).

    How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy
    I specifically recommend this one since you note Cassie doesn’t read F&SF. I didn’t find speculative fiction until the tragically late age of 13, but by 18 I’d read so much that I didn’t understand why other folks didn’t “get” this genre. Took under 200 pages to clear that up.

    Characters & Viewpoint
    I’ve only read a few bits of Converging Forces, but please spend some quality time with this book. While I’m a huge fan of your posts, as a general principle I’m not convinced blogging skills translate into formal fiction writing.


  2. I wouldn’t feel too bad about not catching your own mistakes. It can be really hard to do. You’re thinking more about getting your story across than the details of grammar. That isn’t a bad thing! Your job is to create and an editor to refine.

    Believe me, my book was a pretty solid train wreck once I finished the manuscript. I was lucky to have some really awesome editors who helped polish it up. Once they finished I went back and read it myself and made changes after the fact once it was in a grammatically correct state. The humor in that is that I then added new mistakes into it! At any rate, don’t feel bad!


  3. If you are looking for ideas for blog posts, I am incredibly curious to know how this PBeM thing actually works. What do you give to your players, and what do they give back, and then how does that go to the final post?

    When I was reading through the story I couldn’t picture how they were created without resorting to excessive dialogue between you and them.


    • Ironshield, here’s what happens from my perspective.

      I look at the situation John has put my character in (though usually that situation is as a result of something I said or did).
      I know how she would react to certain things. There exists somewhere a character sheet, (like the ones we use for tabletop gaming). ON this sheet there are mechanical things but also background and a fairly large amount of personality based information.
      I will write him back with, what I think are appropriate in-character actions. Occasionally, that will include mulitple if/then choices. If the situation class for it, I will also include dialogue, otherwise I leave that up to John.
      He takes what I send him and edits? fits? (not quite sure what word to use and fits it into his story).


  4. As you know of your battle, I will refrain from taking my digital red pen to the apostrophe use in this post. You kind of remind me of a friend I had just out of high school – very smart, good writer, couldn’t for the life of her use a comma properly. It did not matter if I made illustrated guides (now lost to an inactive photobucket account, alas) or detailed written instructions or found her “commas for dummies” – she could not use them.

    No one EVER mention semicolons to me; no one knows how to use them, I think.

    That aside, out of curiosity… what ARE the rules that your English teacher made up?


    • I have done quite a bit of writing, albeit for the business world as opposed to blogging or fiction.
      I still have issues with commas. When I was earning my degree, I urged a a teacher of mine to write a book entitled the “Comma Sutra,” in order to help poor slobs like me.


  5. Would it be rude of me to suggest that the final sentence would be more accurate if it read “What I do WITH the apostrophe is an offence against God and nature.” since you’re not really doing it to the apostrophe and all.


  6. Heh, my apostrophes are pretty dodgy in non-edited writing as well. My brain knows the rules, but my fingers don’t have a clue 🙂

    Good to hear you’re liking the outcome of the editing process, though!


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