May 30, 2011

A Writer's Life - Applause for the editor

It's been a while now since I mentioned working on a new project, the idea to which hit me sometime in mid December of last year. Not the typical thing I do with pen and paper, so at first I decided to just forget about it. Yet the idea wouldn't let go, despite my serious efforts to just ignore it. So I did what every self-respecting writer would do to find some peace of mind again. I sat down and started typing.

Roughly six months have passed since the idea sneaked up on me and basically attacked me from behind. It took several weeks before I finally gave in to it. And about two of three weeks ago I was able to send the draft to my self-declared editor (if she hadn't offered, I would have begged). Last night I received the revised manuscript back.

I was bummed. A little.

You see, the main problem, if I may call it that way, of this pesky idea was that I'd be writing in English. While my English is pretty darn good it certainly isn't perfect, which means that an editor was of utmost importance in this case. Even more than would be the case for a text in my mother tongue German. Anyway. I had read and re-read the whole text before sending it off and when my lovely editor told me "Nothing major- just a few minor changes." I was delighted. Then I opened the manuscript and nearly got a heart attack. The first few pages looked like someone used a chainsaw. Alright, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it was late, I was tired, and those pages gave me a bit too much visual input for my taste. I'm a perfectionist. I figured she would only find three mistakes in the whole text. So this was certainly a disenchanting experience. At first. Then I leafed through the 40-odd pages (at least the damn thing is short) and felt myself relax a little. Lots of pages weren't adorned with comments after all. But those that were, like I said, bummed me out. I know what you're going to say now, there is a reason why you should have someone do the proof-reading, because you will have blinders on as an author. And boy, my blinders where embarrassingly huge. On second thought it seemed like I put some mistakes there just to test whether my editor did a good job. Seriously. I know the difference between then - than, save - safe, lose - loose. Yet, there they were *cringe*. The good news is that apart from these horrible, and inexcusable, mistakes there really were only a selected few things that needed the red pen.

And I found out something quite interesting about my writing habits too. I have this tendency to start sentences with an "And". No kidding!

What it all boils down to is that my editor did a great job. Here's to my editor. Here's to Amy.

More about my little pet project in a 'lil while.
I promise.


  1. *blush* It was fun! And my red pen barely used any ink (hey look, there's that pesky And again!).

  2. Of course there's that pesky "And" again ... this is my trademark ingredient for all texts *lol*.

  3. I can appreciate Amy's job, even more so now that I am a publisher and editor. But it takes you, the author, to put together the manuscript - the plot and characters - and make it a grab you, engaging story. Even in writing my reviews I always have to go back and re-read to hopefully weed out errors. And of course you don't always get them all. (See - I write with "And" beginnings too.) Editors are indispensable to give the work a new and critical eye.
    Best wishes on your project. I'll be interested to hear more.

  4. Maybe the "And" is a German tendency. I love starting sentences with "And", too. :)

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