Line Edits

I do NOT like line editing.  There, I said it.  Commas annoy me and coordinating conjunctions that need them, bore me.  Revisions drive me bananas, too, but not like line editing.

My favorite professor in grad school (you know who you are, Dr. Dulce Maria Gray!)  always reminds me that revision and editing are two totally different things.  Revision, comprised of the prefix “re,” which means “again” and “vision” which contains the root “vis,” meaning “to see”, requires  a new look at the piece – a re-seeing, if you will.  Revision means changes to content.  New imagining. Editing if often associated with lower-order concerns, grammar, word-issues and things like that.  It’s methodical work, and above all, it is necessary.

If I send my manuscript to an agent, and it is full of comma splices or lacks commas, then the agent is going to put the manuscript down unread because such errors are distracting to a reader.  That agent is never going to want to represent me then!  If I can’t respect her time enough to perfect the manuscript before I give it to her, then I don’t deserve representation.

See, I know all this, and yet, I still hate line-editing and do whatever I can to avoid it.

But now there’s no more excuses.  I want the manuscript complete.  I want representation from a reputable agent.  The only thing standing in my way is this line-editing.  Then when it’s done, I will be ready to start submitting the manuscript to agents. But not before then.  So this is me, buckling down to work!

Watch out world, here I come!

4 thoughts on “Line Edits

  1. I have to admit, as much as I enjoy editing short pieces of work, line-edits of an entire novel are painful and you end up having to do more than one run through because you know there are places where you’ve slacked off.
    Wishing you luck with the edits and I hope it all goes well for you.

  2. Reminds me of when I was a kid and I would stay up all night cutting out fabric and pinning and sewing something wonderful. I would get to the hem and stop. That is when it went into “the drawer” of things unfinished:-(

  3. I find editing to be a calming endeavor, even on deadline. In my 30 years as a newspaper editor, I don’t think I ever got rattled by deadline. At the Washington Post, with stories often breaking sometime minutes before the first edition started to roll off the press, I knew that an article would soon be in the newspaper and then I could move on to another story.

    The joy, for me, at least, was to edit, cut and polish in such a way that I could adopt the reporter’s style and make seamless changes. I can appreciate a finely turned phrase and enjoy shaping a story to its fullest potential.

    Writing short fiction, meanwhile, is often the ultimate challenge, much like painting with watercolors, where nuance counts a great deal. As writers, we all have to wear the editor’s green eyeshade at times, but I think it helps us to be better writers.

    I once looked at a short story I had written, which was rejected by a magazine, and realized that there was only one sentence worth salvaging. Has I looked more critically at the story before submitting, I would have declined to send it along. Then again, maybe I just needed to get it out of my system. (I have yet to use that orphan line; someday, perhaps.)

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