Things are moving fast now.
And when I say ‘things,’ I mean things relating to the editing of Melanie’s and my upcoming book, ‘Autumn Bird and something I can’t tell you yet because the decision hasn’t been finalized.’ (That’s going to look weird on the cover, eh?)
I have spent the past week or so dealing with the first tranche of pages. This is what they call a line edit. Our editor, hardworking Anne, has worried through the book on a line by line basis, flagging areas of potential objection by the gatekeepers of children’s morality (swears, body parts, yucky personal habits), identifying inconsistencies (hair colour, handedness, what period is civics class) and calling out bits of writing for clarity (Where are they exactly? What is going on?) and authenticity (would your character really think or say or feel that).
Going through this edit forces you to look at your prose from someone else’s point of view. You know what you wanted to say, but did you actually get it across? Sometimes I did, but all too often it seems I didn’t.
By the way, until about a year ago I had never even heard of – let alone used – the word tranche. Now I find it creeping into my milieu almost as regularly as algorithm – another word I lived more than a half century without using and now encounter daily. I wonder about the longevity of trending abstract terminology. Most of my university essays contained the word milieu which, between graduation and this post, I have not typed. (The picture, by the way, is the Google algorithm's version of the word.)
Back to the line edit. I was happy to agree with almost all of Hardworking Anne’s comments.
But I couldn’t help noticing that my chapters got more commentary than Melanie’s. Many more: Are you sures, or: I don’t knows, or: What abouts. Melanie’s chapters had comments like: What a great phrase, or: I love what you did there, or, simply: Nice.
As a guy – a white guy – a middle-class straight white guy – I could whine about her getting easier treatment because of her background. That reaction would fit easily into the current political, ahem, milieu. But I suspect it has to do with the quality of her work.
Can’t wait for the next tranche of notes.