Monday, July 30, 2018

The Copyedit Curse

I'm starting to believe that the last thing a writer should do is copyedit something they wrote..  Wait, let  me amend that: the last thing a writer should do is copyedit.  Someone once said that writer would copyedit his own death sentence, given half a chance.

 I cannot read anything I wrote without mentally rephrasing it. Sometimes this happens in situ while I'm writing.  Worse when I am going over something the copyeditor caught or a sentence nearby that happened to fall within the firing zone of review - collateral damage as it were.  I try to restrain this impulse when going over the galleys but, as Analog will attest, it is a rare set that goes back to them without change.  I once managed to add a complete paragraph to a short piece to perfect the story (and to use up some unproductive space on a page.

Quote: No story is ever completed, rather it is abandoned by the author. 

It has been a  massive effort to restrain my rewriting impulses as I went over the copyedits of four long pieces needing completion by August 1, 2018. Some were done because I disagreed with the suggested changes but thought that section could have been written better, Others were things that fell under my scanning eye and IMHO  just had to be corrected/modified/rewritten.

How does one lift this affliction?


Friday, July 20, 2018

Post Retirement Life

After ten years of work on SFWA's Board of Directors and eight or nine as CFO I am now officially free to do as I wish*.

Since I also changed residence at the same time I was somewhat preoccupied and consequently didn't write anything for nearly two months; a time I fervently wished to do something, anything, to get back into the Science Fiction flow.

Finally, I got the writing forge in place, our furniture arranged, and everything we brought from Annapolis to Midlothian stored or placed somewhere.  Now, I thought, I can sit down and pay attention to the unfinished novels and short stories that litter my desktop.

That's when I discovered that I managed to "lose" about ten thousand plus words of one of the WIP.  No problem, I thought as I fruitlessly scrambled to find out where they ended up while trying to gather my memories of what I had written so I could restore what I couldn't find.

I'd barely begun when a set of galleys arrived from Analog that needed immediate review to meet the deadlines.  No problem, one of the more enjoyable tasks of writing is proof reading something I'd almost forgotten writing and marveling at my brilliance.**

I had barely gotten back to the search and recovery task when another editor sent corrections/suggestions for a novel now in its final production stages.  Once again, putting aside the search and recovery job, I started reviewing what she wanted, but before I could get the first chapter read yet another editor wanted me to confirm/correct all the changes he and his copyeditor had suggested for another long piece.

That was before a third editor wanted immediate attention to the novel in front of him, of course, and which were daunting in prospect.  A three week job, I estimated.  This brought the entire review time to a month at minimum before I could get back to the WIP or maybe something fresh and new.

Nevertheless, JOY!  Nothing pleases me more than being deliriously, happily engaged in rewriting three long pieces at once. I placed that short Analog request ahead of the others since it would be a task done quickly and I could complete the more more complicated ones in a week or three, four on the outside.

Of course, all the editors expect me to get back to them by the end of the month.

I need to be more careful about what I wish for.

*That being on hot standby in case 
anything needs my attention.

** He said immodestly.