Saturday, May 10, 2008

Editing Other People

The longer I've been writing, the harder reading is. The off-switch on my internal editor is broken. I've tried duct tape and zipties, but it didn't work. Which is not a good sign-- in my world, anything that can't be repaired with duct tape or zipties is *really* broken and needs replacing.

So, unfortunately, while I'm reading, I find myself critiquing. I continually question the purpose of scenes, especially if it seems to be a couple of characters sitting around bullshitting. Character development is all well and good, but there have been scenes where I learned nothing knew about the characters. And it didn't advance the plot. My internal editor shrieks "Cut this scene!" In blue. Because my TrakChanges comments on Bo's Novel are primarily in blue.

This does cut down a bit on the enjoyment of reading because I get bored. Like many of them yunguns today, I get bored when I don't see the point of something. My only defense is that I'll go longer before I give up because of that boredom.

The other thing I find myself doing, especially if the story has hit a slower moving part (like that character development stuff), I edit individual sentences for clarity and flow. Yeah. It's a sickness. Especially dialogue.

I get this twitch when I read stilted dialogue. Stuff that looks great on paper, but isn't how people talk. On the flip side, don't do nunuv that vernaculah spellin', dawg. That pisses me off more than mousy, meek giggly girly-girls.

There are few books I've read in the past two years since I started *Seriosly* writing for publication that I have managed to read with minimal Internal Editor Commentary.

The up side of this is that I am hypercritical of my own writing. I'd like to think this has helped me get more stories published. I'm not lenient on my own writing and have been known to throw out whole huge amusing scenes because they failed the "what's the point?" question. But I would like to enjoy reading a bit more.

And don't even ask about movies...


pattinase (abbott) said...

I think this is exactly why i don't finish many books. After a while, they just seem too overwritten to get to that 300 pages plus mark. It's not that I demand a lot of plot, but I like forward motion in development.

Clair Dickson said...

I agree. And I think some of the books that are 300+ pages could be better told in say, 200 or less.

But I also have a strong STRONG preference efficiency.

Travis Erwin said...

I got nothing to add except I agree. It is the same for me.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Me too! Me too!

For a while I thought I was getting A.D.D. at a very advanced age and then i realized that since I've begun writing, I'm really having trouble reading!